The Washington Mystics are obviously at their best with Elena Delle Donne on the court.
Their star forward looks for another big effort while trying to help the visiting Mystics enter the All-Star break with a third consecutive win Wednesday against a Minnesota Lynx squad that's trying to keep from losing three in a row.
Delle Donne, averaging 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds, fractured her nose early against Los Angeles on July 7. Washington (11-6) lost that game and the next two while Delle Donne was out. Sporting a protective mask, she returned to drop 28 points and pull down 15 rebounds in an overtime victory at Indiana on Friday, then had 28 and eight in Sunday's 93-65 rout of Atlanta.
The Mystics are 0-4 this season when Delle Donne is out or plays fewer than two minutes in a game. At the moment, they don't need to worry about being without their All-Star captain.
After shooting 46.3 percent from the field, going 12 of 26 from 3-point range and forcing 15 turnovers against the Dream, Washington has one more hurdle to clear to enter the break on a three-game winning streak.
"Minnesota is always a tough team to play," forward Aerial Powers, who finished with 17 points and hit four 3-pointers against Atlanta, said as posted on the Mystics' official Facebook page. "So, we'll have to carry this energy over into the next game. We're all excited about it ... One more win before the All-Star (game) then we get a little break."
This is the first of three meetings between Washington and Minnesota in the span of less than a month. While the Mystics are back to their winning ways, the Lynx (10-9) have dropped three of four following a stretch of five wins in six games.
Minnesota fell 79-74 at Las Vegas on Sunday, marking the fifth time in 2019 that it's lost by five or fewer points. The Lynx shot 45.6 percent but also committed 18 turnovers and went to the free-throw line 11 fewer times than the Aces.
Odyssey Sims had 19 points but turned the ball over five times. Minnesota rookie Napheesa Collier had just eight points but grabbed six boards and blocked three shots. Collier (11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg) was added to the All-Star game this week, replacing injured Aces forward A'ja Wilson. She joins teammates Sims and Sylvia Fowles (14.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg) as All-Stars.
"It's such an amazing honor to be named an All-Star," Collier told the Lynx's official website. "And, I'm excited to not only play with my own teammates who are great, but to play with the other amazing players in the league."
Kristi Toliver (11.7 ppg, 5.7 assists per game) joins Delle Donne representing Washington in Saturday's All-Star contest.