Two MVP-Caliber Players Set To Square Off Friday

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

Friday night’s game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics will feature two of the top four teams in the WNBA. The Lynx stand atop the league at 9-1 overall, while the Mystics are tied for third with a 7-4 record.

The matchup will also include two MVP-Caliber players in Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles and Washington’s Elena Delle Donne.

Former teammates with the Chicago Sky, Fowles and Delle Donne have yet to play against each other this season. Delle Donne was unable to play in the June 9 game (Lynx won 98-73) in the nation’s capital due to an injury.

That is set to change on Friday night.

“She gives the Mystics a different look,” Fowles said of Delle Donne. “But we can’t focus on one person, because it is team ball. We have to be ready for whatever they throw as us (on Friday).”

Although the two won’t likely be matched up against each other in the game – with Fowles lining up at the center position and Delle Donne primarily at power forward – both players certainly have the ability to take over a game at any given moment.

Fowles is having one of her best seasons, if not the best season, of her career in 2017. Entering Friday’s game, Fowles is averaging 20.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 1.9 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.

She ranks second in the WNBA in scoring, second in rebounding, second in steals and fourth in blocks.

“When Syl is locked in and she is being patient and she’s getting where we wants to go, I don’t think anybody can do anything with it,” Rebekkah Brunson said of her teammate. “She’s an amazing player and I don’t think anyone in this league can stop her.”

In her first season with the Mystics, Delle Donne is averaging 20.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.

She ranks fourth in the WNBA in scoring, fifth in blocks, 14th in rebounding and 19th in steals.

“She’s a tremendous scorer,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Her ability to get to the foul line, that’s what this entire team is about. . . They put a lot of pressure on your defense. They have shooters all over the place. Taking one of those players out of the mix, like a Delle Donne, you change your focus. You put her back in the game and you have your hands full.”

In the latest Race to MVP, which is released every Wednesday during the season, Fowles is listed at No. 1, while Delle Donne is listed at No. 4.

Almost two months into the season, Fowles and Delle Donne have been arguably two of the WNBA’s best. It should be fun to watch them go back-and-forth on Friday.

The Lynx and Mystics will square off at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The game will be aired on ESPN2 and 106.1 BOB FM.