Elena Delle Donne wins WNBA MVP award, the second of her career

Elena Delle Donna has won her second WNBA MVP award. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Elena Delle Donne had a heckuva season for the Washington Mystics, and now she’ll have the hardware to back it up.

Delle Donne has been voted the 2019 WNBA MVP, becoming the first Mystics player to win the award and the first WNBA player to win the award with two different teams. Delle Donne won her first MVP in 2015 when she was with the Chicago Sky.

According to ESPN, Delle Donne got 41 of 43 first-place votes, with Phoenix’s Brittney Griner coming in second.

Saying that Delle Donne had a heckuva season is somehow underselling it. She’s the first WNBA player to put up a 50/40/90 season. She’s second in scoring (just behind Griner) with 19.5 points per game. Her shooting percentage at 51.5 overall, and 43.0 from behind the arc. She attempted 117 free throws and made 114.

It’s been four years since Delle Donne won her first MVP award. In that four years, she’s matured as a player and become more generous on the court. She feels that’s been a benefit not just to her, but to her teammates.

"My growth from my first MVP to this one is a big difference," Delle Donne told ESPN. "Before, I felt like I was just a scorer and wasn't making my teammates better around me. Whereas now, I'm much more efficient and better at finding others.

"And if you make others better, it ends up making your job easier. I think I've learned so much over my career, and the reason I don't sit down and say, 'Oh, that's great; I'm so excited,' is because I want to do more."

Delle Donne is the sixth player to win the MVP award more than once. Candace Parker and Cynthia Cooper each also won the award twice, and Lisa Leslie, Lauren Jackson, and Sheryl Swoopes each won it three times. Since Delle Donne just turned 30 and is continuing to improve with every season, there’s a good chance that she could join the three-timers club.

Delle Donne will receive her MVP award from WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert on Thursday, right before she and her Mystics teammates take on the Las Vegas Aces in Game 2 of the semifinals. The Mystics have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

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