By Andreas Preuss – Bulletin Leader

Delle Donne sees Pennsylvania-based nurse practitioner Rita Rhoads every week during the offseason to make sure her blood tests are satisfactory.

The 26-year-old, 6-foot-5 Delle Donne said she can spend four hours per day “just doing things trying to stay healthy”.

Delle Donne finished with a 32.72 Player Efficiency Rating this season, the WNBA’s highest since Lauren Jackson in 2007 (35.04).

LeBron James tweeted congratulations to Delle Donne after the announcement. “It’s been an incredible season, my teammates are the ones that have the credit, the coaches as well”. There’s never been a question that Delle Donne would be an elite scorer at the pro level, but Sky coach Pokey Chatman wanted her to increase her rebounding production this season, too.

“It’s just a different mentality when you reach the playoffs”, New York center Tina Charles said.

Delle Donne won the MVP award for the first time, leading the Sky to a 21-13 record and the No 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

She says she doesn’t know how she exactly how she got the disease and didn’t catch it in its early stages as flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle stiffness, were misdiagnosed.

“It really is something”, he said. She set a league record for free-throw accuracy: her 95 percent from the line is the best mark for any player with at least 200 attempts. Even missing Brittney Griner for the first seven games because of a suspension for her domestic violence arrest and Diana Taurasi for the season while she was resting couldn’t slow down the Mercury. “That made me feel more athletic, and I was able to move so much better”. After sitting out the first half of the season Candace Parker returned to play in the final 16 games for the Sparks.

“I always talked to her about taking the road less traveled”, Ernie Delle Donne said of Elena playing at Delaware instead of UConn, and then having her second WNBA season curtailed by injury and illness.

“That’s what we needed on this team”.

Delle Donne finished her UD career ranked fifth in NCAA Division I history with 3,039 career points despite missing 22 games because of illness or injury.

After winning state high school and college conference titles, Delle Donne now goes after her first pro championship. Yet Delle Donne was back at least closer to full strength by the 2014 postseason, and she had a monster performance with 34 points in the Sky’s series-clinching first-round win over Atlanta. “Our defense is going to be crucial”.