Twice the New York Liberty could not stop Elena Delle Donne from making clutch shots in the fourth quarter.
First, she sank a dramatic buzzer beater on June 28 to lift the Washington Mystics to an 80-77 win. A week later, she scored 11 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter to help the Mystics secure a double-digit win over the Liberty.
The venue will change but the priority for New York remains trying to contain Delle Donne and the rest of the Mystics Saturday afternoon at the Westchester Civic Center in White Plains, N.Y.
Delle Donne is averaging 21.5 points on 42 percent shooting in the first two meetings, and two weeks ago against New York, she made 4 of 6 shots in the final 10 minutes on a night when the forward shot 8 of 19.
“This is a big one. I’ve never had one that had to be so quick. This one flew by really fast,” Delle Donne said after hitting the buzzer-beater in the first meeting with New York. “My teammates made it the most fun I’ve ever had.”
Since Delle Donne’s last clutch performance against the Liberty, Washington (13-10) is 2-4 in its last six games. Delle Donne also is coming off one of her worst outings when she was 3 of 14 from the floor and was held to nine points in an 81-70 loss to the Dallas Wings on Thursday.
It was the third time Delle Donne was held to single digits, and the Mystics are hoping the follow up resembles what she did following an eight-point showing against Minnesota on June 7. Six days later she totaled 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting in a 95-91 win at Connecticut.
Delle Donne’s quiet night was hardly the lone problem for Washington against Dallas. The Mystics were unable to stop Liz Cambage, who torched the Mystics for 35 points two days after setting the league record with 53 against the Liberty.
If Delle Donne has a quiet showing, the Mystics will be intrigued to see whether LaToya Sanders can follow up her career-high 25-point showing from Thursday or whether Kristi Tolliver can rebound from going 3 of 12 from the floor.
New York is hoping not to allow another record-setting performance. After getting dominated by Cambage, the Liberty allowed Renee Montgomery to set a team record by hitting seven 3-pointers for the Atlanta Dream in the Dream’s 82-68 victory on Thursday.
New York’s two losses in Washington are part of a stretch of 10 losses in the past 13 games for the Liberty, who are 4-8 at home.
Tina Charles combined for 44 points in the two losses in Washington but often has little help. She was the lone New York player in double figures Thursday with 11 points and the Liberty are 2-11 when Charles does not get at least 20 points.
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