DEERFIELD, Ill. — At 6 feet, 7 inches and roughly 300 pounds, Miles Bankston was his usual formidable obstacle in Elena Delle Donne’s path, but common sense and team protocol dictated he not flip the franchise player on her head as she drove toward him 10 days before the season opener.

Last year it would not have mattered because Delle Donne would have avoided contact, team scrimmage or otherwise, and settled for her patented fadeaway jumper.

“This time,” Chicago Sky assistant coach Christie Sides said with a satisfied smile, “she turned the corner, hit the big boy and finished over him.”

With 12 pounds of additional muscle and immeasurably more confidence, the 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year returns for her second season after having passed on playing overseas and stayed in Chicago, where she did promotional work for the Sky and bodywork on herself.

“It was a great season but I was able to tell the entire [time] that my strength just wasn’t where it needed to be in order to be really effective in this league and help my team,” said Delle Donne, the second overall draft pick out of Delaware in 2013.

That realization hit especially hard immediately after the Sky were swept by the 2012 defending champion Indiana Fever in the first round of the playoffs last fall.


Continue Reading…(via ESPN)