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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Delle Donne’s Unprecedented Free-Throw Shooting Continues To Amaze

Courtesy of WNBA:

The game of basketball offers a unique scoring opportunity that simply can’t be found anywhere else in sports: the free throw.

This motion doesn’t cloak its true meaning in verbose vernacular. In fact, it’s exactly what it claims to be: An uncontested throw of the ball at the hoop in hopes of adding another point, two or even three to your final total. No defender trying to block or even affect the shot, other players reduced to fans watching the action unfold in front of them. It’s a play that’s become so commonplace in the game today that we often overlook its simplicity.

Delving into WNBA team free throw percentage from the past five seasons, a veiled but intriguing theme of consistency comes to fruition. From 2013-16 the Chicago Sky never dropped out of the top four, and this season the Mystics are the second team shooting 85% or better (Fever, 2017) since the 2011 Phoenix Mercury.

The thread clearly isn’t a homecourt advantage but rather a prolific individual shooter: Elena Delle Donne.

You know about the MVP awards, the scoring champion accolades, the Rookie of the Year trophy and the Olympic gold medal, but EDD also holds the profound honor of being the league’s all-time leader in the free throw percentage (94.3%).

Delle Donne has made the charity stripe her second home. While her exceptional arsenal of offensive weapons make her lethal off the dribble or in a catch-and-shoot opportunity, her ability to draw fouls and then convert from the line is what sets her in a class all by herself when it comes to stuffing the stat sheet.

On Tuesday afternoon, Delle Donne tied DeWanna Bonner’s record for consecutive made free throws in a single season at 59. Eva Nemcova still holds the all-time record after sinking 66 straight between the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

She missed the historic shot and fell short in chasing more history, but still, this ground-breaking level of consistency was nothing new for the four-time All-Star.

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In 2015, Delle Donne made 58 straight free throws as a member of the Chicago Sky, which at the time set the all-time single-season record before Bonner set the new record just five weeks later. In the same season she also set a new WNBA in-game record by knocking down 19 of 19 free throws against the Dream in late June en route to a career-high 45-point outburst. All in all she’s made an astounding 686 of the 728 total free throw shots she’s attempted in her WNBA career thus far.

2017 has been particularly special for the free throw phenom as her 96.4 percent shooting from the line is the best clip of her career. EDD has only missed four free throws this entire season, she’s taken 112. Always mentioned in the scoring champion discussion, Delle Donne’s 19.3 points per game are the 7th most in the WNBA and of her 366 points this season 108 have come in the form of free throws.

Many are hesitant to say that someone is “automatic” or a “guarantee” when it comes to scoring the basketball. But, if Elena Delle Donne is on the line with two free throws coming her way, it’s safe to assume she’ll have two more points next to her name as her team runs the other way to get into their defensive set.

 

Original Source: http://www.wnba.com/news/elena-delle-donne-free-throw-foul-shooting/

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Elena Delle Donne hopes to share lessons from her life and career in new books

 

Courtesy of USA Today:

Even for a program like Connecticut, Elena Della Donne was a big deal. The Huskies routinely bring in top classes, but by 2008 Delle Donne had become perhaps the most talked-about high school girls basketball player in history, destined for multiple titles with the nation’s most elite program.

Then, after only a short stay on campus the summer before her freshman season, she left. Her decision to transfer to the University of Delaware is still scrutinized nearly 10 years — and one WNBA MVP award and Olympic gold medal — later.

Now, she’s hoping to pass on the life lessons she learned then – and from the rest of her career (so far) – in two new books: Her memoir, My Shot, and the first in a series of kids books, Elle of the Ball. Delle Donne wants both books — which are written with a collaborator and will be released by Simon and Schuster in March of 2018 — to be accessible to children and teenagers who may be struggling with the same feelings she had when she was younger.

“It’s been a couple of years in my career and I feel like at this point I’m comfortable with who I am, where I am,” Delle Donne said. “A lot of lessons I’ve learned along the way, and I love kids so I definitely wanted these first books to be geared towards a younger age group and just wanted to share some life lessons. Also just give a little bit of fun reading.”

Among those life lessons, she said, are those she learned in the years after her departure from UConn, when long-simmering feelings of burnout culminated in an abrupt – but necessary – break from the sport before returning to the court at Delaware a year later. She said she began feeling burned out long before she stepped on campus in Storrs, Conn. and in her book shares some of the emotions she was feeling in the years leading up to that famous departure.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“It was definitely a chance to tell it in my own way and in my own words, even going through the writing process of it all. At some points it’s kind of emotional to have to re-live moments that were tough, especially the whole Connecticut turmoil and going through that I felt like I had to re-live those emotions in order to re-tell it the way I was experiencing it in that time,” she said. “So I would say that was one of the hardest parts of the book was getting through that and burnout was a huge part of the book and I think — even if you’re not an athlete — there’s things in life you feel like you’re burning out in and I tell it from my perspective and how I got through it and hope that can help others.”

There are other life lessons in the books that Delle Donne hopes can appeal to kids – and grownups – across different audiences. Which means she hopes that both boys and girls take away something from the books. In Elle of the Ball, a book about a middle school basketball player, there’s a boy character too.

“So if they don’t relate to my character hopefully they can relate to another one and that was very important to me,” she said.

Delle Donne also hopes to offer some of what she learned about perseverance, having the right people to support you and some tales about life being so tall. (Delle Donne is 6-foot-5).

“It took me until college to really be comfortable,” she said. “Obviously basketball helped a lot but I would say college is when I finally loved my height and embraced it.”

As for feeling comfortable with herself as a whole? As it is for any of us, it’s an ongoing process, she said.

“But I’m in a great place now and I feel like I’ve really learned so much over the years,” she said. “This was a great time to reflect and share some lessons.”

 

Original Source: http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/07/elena-delle-donne-book

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Elena Delle Donne leads WNBA Eastern Conference in all-star voting

Elena Delle Donne’s star shines bright as ever in the WNBA, as evidenced by the league’s first all-star voting update announced Thursday. The Washington Mystics forward leads all Eastern Conference players with 19,280 votes and sits second in the league overall behind the Minnesota Lynx’s Maya Moore, who has 19,949.

In the Eastern Conference, Delle Donne, a three-time all-star, leads frontcourt players by a wide margin. New York’s Tina Charles is the next highest vote-getter with 12,055 votes and Connecticut forward/center and former George Washington standout Jonquel Jones sits in third place with 10,585 votes.

Mystics guards Kristi Toliver (3,498), Tayler Hill (2,794) and Ivory Latta (2,042) are also among the conference’s top vote-getters for backcourt players.

In the Western Conference, Los Angeles’s Candace Parker trails Moore among frontcourt players with 17,127 votes and is followed by Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles, with 15,159 votes. Seattle’s Sue Bird (16,139), Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi (15,207 and Dallas’ Skylar Diggins-Smith (11,462) lead the Western Conference backcourt players.

The All-Star Game will be played in Seattle on July 22, the WNBA’s first since 2015 after skipping last year for the Rio Olympics. The game will be broadcast on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Original Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dc-sports-bog/wp/2017/06/29/elena-delle-donne-leads-wnba-eastern-conference-in-all-star-voting/

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