Mystics' Elena Delle Donne becomes first WNBA player to join exclusive 50/40/90 club

Cassandra NegleyYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/teams/was" data-ylk="slk:Washington Mystics">Washington Mystics</a> forward <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/5058/" data-ylk="slk:Elena Delle Donne">Elena Delle Donne</a> became the first WNBA player to join an exclusive club. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne became the first WNBA player to join an exclusive club. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

To say Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics’ season was incredible is an understatement.

The Mystics (26-8) became the most efficient offense in WNBA history, breaking a nearly two-decade-old mark, and MVP favorite Delle Donne led the way by becoming the first WNBA player to join the exclusive 50/40/90 club.

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Delle Donne joins 50/40/90 club with FT record

Delle Donne is the first WNBA player in history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from the 3-point line and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

She broke the marks shooting 51.5 percent (220 of 427), 43 percent (52 of 121) and 97.4 percent (114 of 11), respectively, while playing in 31 of 34 games. Her free-throw percentage is a record for a player with at least 100 attempts.

The seventh-year forward out of Delaware joins elite NBA company. Steve Nash is a four-time member of the club and Stephen Curry joined the group in 2016. Both are two-time MVPs and congratulated the latest addition on Twitter.

The club consists of eight NBA players: Nash (four times), Larry Bird (twice), Curry, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant and Malcolm Brogdon.

Delle Donne, 30, averaged a second-best 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. She’s the favorite to win league MVP, which would be her second after winning it in 2016. Drafted by the Chicago Sky in 2013, she has yet to win a WNBA title.

Mystics cap historic offensive year

Delle Donne drove the Mystics, but it took a team effort to eclipse long-standing marks as they look to make it back to the championship. The Mystics lost to the Seattle Storm in the 2018 final.

Washington’s offense averaged 1.128 points per possession, breaking the 2000 Houston Comets’ offensive efficiency mark of 1.091 ppp. It was the final year of the Comets’ four consecutive titles (1997-2000) at the WNBA’s infancy.

The Mystics led the league in scoring with an average 89.3 points per game and had the highest differential, defeating opponents by an average of 12 points. No other team averaged more than a plus-3.4 differential.

They broke nearly every offensive stat imaginable, per High Hoops Stats.

Emma Meesseman (13.1), Kristi Toliver (13.0), Aerial Powers (11.4) and Ariel Atkins (10.3) all averaged double-digits in scoring. Meesseman and Powers do most of their damage coming off the bench.

Tianna Hawkins (9.5) and Natasha Cloud (9.0) aren’t far behind in scoring.

Washington has a double-bye into the semifinals. Head coach Mike Thibault told the Washington Post he hopes to schedule a scrimmage against the practice squad to keep his players fresh during the eight-day break.

The 2019 postseason begins Wednesday with two single-elimination games.

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