BRISTOL, Conn. – University of Delaware women’s basketball senior Elena Delle Donne will continue to wear the blue and yellow to kick-off her professional career as the guard/forward was selected Monday evening as the No. 2 pick in the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky.
“I am excited to play in the absolute best women’s basketball league in the world and against the best players in the world,” remarked Delle Donne. “I’m thrilled for this opportunity to play for the Sky and continue my basketball career in Chicago. This is definitely a dream come true for me. This is an experience of a lifetime and I couldn’t even imagine how great tonight was.”
This past season, Delle Donne helped lead the No. 15 Blue Hens to a 32-4 overall record in addition to back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association titles and a NCAA Sweet 16 appearance for the first time in school history. As a senior, Delle Donne averaged 26 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.9 assists in 30 games for UD.
“I am absolutely ecstatic for Elena and her family,” stated Delaware head coach Tina Martin. “This is a proud moment for the University of Delaware and our women’s basketball program.”
The three-time CAA Player of the Year and four-time All-American finished her career with 3,039 points, good for fifth all-time in NCAA history. Additionally, Delle Donne holds 10 Delaware women’s basketball records while taking hold on five CAA career records. During her four years with the Hens, UD amassed 104 victories, two CAA Championships and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament, which included a school-record three wins.
“It’s been quite a whirlwind of emotions through these last six or so weeks,” Delle Donne commented. “What my teammates and I did at Delaware was incredible. These are all moments where I want to just sit back and soak it all in.”
The Chicago Sky opened the 2012 season with a 7-1 record before injuries to key players put a damper on a campaign that ended with a 14-20 record to continue the franchise’s history of never making the WNBA playoffs. Delle Donne, a natural scorer, will definitely add to the Sky’s offense as the team finished eighth (out of 12 teams) in points per game last season at 75.2 points per game.
"Elena's complete skill set for a player that stands 6’5” along with her basketball IQ is what makes her such a special player,” stated Chicago general manager and head coach Pokey Chatman. “Simply put, she can hurt you in a variety of ways on the offensive end of the floor. She met the challenge of carrying her team into the national spotlight, and I believe that journey will serve her well as she embarks upon her WNBA career.”
Chicago was led on-court last season by Epiphanny Prince, Sylvia Fowles and Swin Cash. Prince averaged 18.1 points and 3.1 assists per game while Fowles put up a double double of 16.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest. Cash is one of only two players to play in all 34 games for the Sky in 2012, as she also started all 34 and averaged 10.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
“The Sky have a phenomenal team and I feel like I will fit in really well into that system,” exclaimed Delle Donne. “Playing alongside Courtney Vandersloot, Sylvia Fowles, Swin Cash and Epiphanny Prince will be awesome. I cannot wait to get to Chicago and start working with my new teammates and coaches.”
Delle Donne is just the second player in University of Delaware history to be drafted by a WNBA team as Tyresa Smith was selected by the Phoenix Mercury as the 18th overall pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft.
Delle Donne and the Sky open their pre-season on May 15 with a game against New York in the Jacoby Dickens Center in Chicago, Ill.
The Chicago Sky regular season begins on Monday, May 27 as Delle Donne and her teammates travel to Phoenix to take on the Mercury on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. ET. The team kicks off its home slate on Friday, May 31 against Connecticut. Chicago will play its second and final national TV game on Wednesday, September 11 against Phoenix at 5 p.m. ET, also on ESPN2.