Demand Excellence

In Elena's Words

That's the thing: You don't understand burnout unless you've been burned out. And it's something you can't even explain. It's just doing something you have absolutely no passion for.
As I grew up, I became aware that there are people with special needs out there, and I have a real connection with them.

I could do whatever I wanted as a girl, whatever my brother did. I could play against the boys and achieve whatever they did.
I'm doing whatever I have to do to help my team win. So, instead of being focused on anything from the outside, I'm focused on winning and that next game.

11's Keys To Success





Years Old



Minutes Played


  • 2015WNBA Most Valuable Player
  • 2015Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award
  • 2014Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award
  • 2011World University Games Gold Medalist
  • ’11-’13WNBA All-StarFirst Ever Leading Vote Getter for a Rookie)
  • 2013WNBA Rookie of the Month Honors3 Consecutive Months (Jun, Jul, Aug)
  • 20134X Eastern Conference Player of the Week as a Rookie
  • 2013#2 Overall pick in WNBA Draft
  • U of D#2 5th All Time Leading Scorer in Division I History
  • U of DCAA All Time Leading Scorer
  • U of D2x WBCA All American
  • U of D2x John Wooden All American
  • U of D2x Capital One Academic All American of the Year
  • U of D3x Capital One Academic All American
  • U of D3039 Career points
  • U of DSenior CLASS Award WinnerChosen by a nationwide vote of Division I women’s basketball coaches, national basketball media, and fans. Given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I women’s basketball.

Born: September 5, 1989

Height: 6’5”

Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware

College: University of Delaware

Elena has always forged her own path. From the very start, she knew exactly where she wanted to go and set out on her journey. While staying in her home state, Delaware, she attended the University of Delaware and played basketball for the Blue Hens. The decision to attend this university was not always easy, especially since she was first recruited to play for the University of Connecticut. Her decision to attend the University of Delaware was ultimately based on her close relationship with her family, as she planned to spend time with them during the off-season. Elena is always thinking of others. She is the consummate team player, always giving praise to her teams and coaches, even as she is the one recognized for being the best player on the court. Off the court, she has a number of passions that mainly involve donating her time and talents. She is the global ambassador to the Special Olympics and became the first national ambassador for the Lyme Research Alliance. Both have a special place in her life; her older sister Lizzie has special needs and Elena has been battling Lyme disease on a daily basis since 2008. Both, also, are a regular motivation for her and are a constant inspiration to be the best athlete possible. Elena also plays host to De11e Donne Academy, a basketball camp that runs throughout the year, where she mentors and coaches girls ages 7 to 18. Elena continues to transcend in all aspects of her life; it is second nature to her. On and off the court she is motivated by two words, “Demand Excellence.”

Photos are courtesy of Lenny Gilmore / RedEye