With 6 minutes and 28 seconds left in the 3rd quarter of Game 5 of the WNBA Finals, Elena Delle Donne needed to make a big play. She just received the ball from Natasha Cloud and stood on the three-point line. The Mystics desperately needed a basket as the Sun had just opened up a nine-point lead off a 10 to two run. After watching her teammates run an action, the MVP decided to force the issue herself. Delle Donne went right at Alyssa Thomas, spun into the paint, hit the bank shot, and drew the 4th foul on Jonquel Jones. Afterwards, she let out a roar as if to say “I’m not losing tonight.”
The play marked the game’s turning point. Jonquel Jones sat for the rest of the quarter and DC finished the game by outscoring Connecticut 43-25. However, the play was not emblematic of the Mystics’ beautiful and flowing offense that captivated the league. EDD shrugged off the team’s off-ball action to go right at one of the league’s best defenders in isolation. It was a moment of sheer determination. While it may seem out of step with the team’s offensive plan, Delle Donne’s bucket exemplified the will of this team to win a championship this season.
“This team was determined for greatness. It took five games, took four in the semis, it took battling injuries, it took a lot of resilience, fight, heart,” said Kristi Toliver wearing skiing googles with the champagne-drenched trophy next to her. “We had the biggest heart all year, and we were the most focused and determined team all year, and we’re just really proud of what we’ve done.”