Elena Delle Donne may not be the tallest WNBA player ever, but her place in basketball history was immortalized this past Friday when she won the 2013 rookie of the year award.
Donne secured all the 39 first place votes and was presented with the glittering coveted trophy by WNBA president Laurel J. Ritchie before Chicago Sky vs Indiana Fever playoff opener.
''I had the pleasure of watching Elena Delle Donne compete in her first WNBA game...and in my very, very humble estimation it seemed to have taken her maybe 10 minutes to make the transition from the college game to the professional game,'' an excited Richie exclaimed.
The gorgeous 6-foot-5 Amazon averaged 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and shot 93 percent from the free throw line to help the team from Illinois make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. What's more, Chicago Sky earned the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Delle Donne, who has struggled with emotional and psychological burn-outs during her young mercurial career had this to say, ''I'm definitely humbled to be receiving this award among such a talented rookie class this season."
In her earlier years while playing college basketball Donne was facing emotional problems due to separation from her family. Donne has a deep unwavering bond with her older sister Lizzie, who is deaf, blind and has cerebral palsy. Eventually, she bounced back from the turmoil and performed better than ever. Watch Elena describing her relationship with her sister http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3BHHoBv8kc
At the award ceremony, Delle Donne was joined by two of her teammates, center Sylvia Fowles and forward Swin Cash who were also honored by WNBA. Here is what Elena tweeted later:
Big thank you to everyone for all of the support! Now it's time to get the playoffs started! #skyhigh
— Elena Delle Donne (@De11eDonne) September 20, 2013
Not content with the award, she is pretty much raring to win the next game. Delle Donne also had some nice things to say about team mates which will certainly boost the team spirit and camaraderie - ''Truthfully, I talk about them because the individual accolades and the individual success doesn't come without them...'They've helped me rise to the occasion game after game, practice after practice...I owe them a ton.''
So will Elena help Chicago Sky win the WNBA championship this season? We will be watching closely.