With the WNBA title on the line, a lesson in toughness from Elena Delle Donne


Raider Times photo / Raider Times photo

Raider Times reporters Brianna Williams (left) and Christina Zouein pose courtside after covering Game 3 of the WNBA Finals at Mohegan Sun Arena on Oct. 6, 2019.

Christina Zouein and Brianna Williams

     On Oct. 6, 2019, Watertown High School junior Christina Zouein and senior Brianna Williams were given the assignment to cover Game 3 of the WNBA Finals. Christina and Brianna traveled to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., picked up their WNBA reporter credentials, and watched the Connecticut Sun play the Washington Mystics.

     The two WHS students are basketball players themselves and learned a lot of things from the players that they could bring to their own team. One player in particular who left a lasting impact was Elena Delle Donne. 

     Delle Donne, who was the league MVP, suffered from a herniated disk in Game 2 of the playoffs and was not sure she was going to play in Game 3. The morning of the game she got a phone call from her doctor giving her the OK to play in the game that night. No one, not even her own coach and especially not the other team, was prepared for that.

By Elena playing, she showed her heart and presence.”


      That night, Delle Donne proved her love for the game and her team. Delle Donne and the Mystics won, 94-81, to move one win away from the title. At the news conference after the victory, someone asked her why she would choose to drive to the basket when she could risk hurting herself.

      “It was kind of one of the moments like, ‘Hey I might give my back up or my body up on this one,’ but I feel like this is such a big moment to stop that run that they were making and I knew I’ve got a phenomenal team,” she said. “They’ve carried me this whole series and they’re going to carry me the rest of the way.”

     Delle Donne was willing to give everything up for her team in that split-second. 

     Teammate Kristi Toliver said, “By Elena playing, she showed her heart and presence.”

     Delle Donne showed what it means to be mentally tough and what true determination represents. Despite the pain she was in, her heart was in the play willing to stop whomever she could. Her passion and mind were carrying her through the game. She was still a leader and a team player despite the adversity she was facing. 

    Delle Donne showed these high school girls what it takes to be great. She exemplified the ideals of sacrifice and giving yourself up for others’ success, for the greater benefit.

     When one asks what is mental toughness, it is shown that mental toughness is Elena Delle Donne. 

–Oct. 22, 2019–