Chicago has a new Most Valuable Player.
Sky forward Elena Delle Donne was named WNBA MVP, the league announced on Wednesday.
Delle Donne, 26, won the WNBA regular-season scoring title after averaging 23.4 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds and two blocks per game. Delle Donne also shot a league-high 95 percent from the free-throw line. She played in a career-high 31 games this season, helping lead the Sky to 21 wins, which is their second-most in franchise history.
"I would say my biggest accomplishment was just becoming more of a leader," Delle Donne said in a live ESPN interview.
“That's what we needed on this team. We have a pretty young team and that's where we kind of faltered before and unfortunately weren't able to get where we wanted to in the playoffs. I think my leadership as a whole has been what's impressed me the most and been the biggest challenge for me."
[INSIDE LOOK: Elena Delle Donne wants to step up as role model]
Delle Donne is only a year removed from a rough 2014 season in which she missed over half of the Sky's regular-season games with a recurrence of Lyme Disease and a back injury during the playoffs.
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James tweeted his congratulations to Delle Donne.
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The Sky open up the 2015 WNBA playoffs when they host the Indiana Fever at the UIC Pavilion at 7 p.m. Thursday night.
"WNBA championship is by far the biggest goal and the playoffs are starting tomorrow, so it's right around the corner and that would by far be the most amazing thing to bring home to Chicago."
The first year of the post-Elena Delle Donne era for the Chicago Sky did not go well.
The Sky limped to a 12-22 record without the former WNBA MVP and scoring champ. As the Bulls are about to experience, the upside of a losing season is a high draft pick the next year.
The Sky had the third and fourth picks in the draft, which took place on Thursday, and snagged a pair of players from powerhouse programs in women's college basketball.
At No. 3 the Sky picked up Diamond DeShields from Tennessee. She led the Lady Vols in scoring in the 2016-17 season, but that was her junior year. She elected to sign overseas with Cukurova in Turkey instead of playing out her final year of eligibility. The New York Times profiled her just ahead of the WNBA draft.
Oh, and she's also the daughter of former major leaguer Delino DeShields and her brother, Delino DeShields Jr., is currently an outfielder for the Texas Rangers.
At No. 4, the Sky picked up UConn forward Gabby Williams. Williams started every game in each of the last two seasons for the Huskies, which went undefeated in the regular season and made the Final Four both of those seasons.
ROSEMONT — Jonquel Jones scored 19 of her career-high 23 points in the second half and finished with 21 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun beat the Chicago Sky 97-79 on Sunday night.
Jones, who set her previous career best of 20 rebounds on May 13, became the 12th player in WNBA history with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Alyssa Thomas had 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals and Lynetta Kizer scored 16 with seven rebounds for Connecticut (1-4), which won its first game of the season.
Kizer’s jumper midway through the first quarter made it 14-13 and the Sun led the rest of the way. Jessica Breland hit two free throws to pull Chicago (1-5) within four with 4:37 left in the third, but Jones scored seven points during a 10-3 run over the next three-plus minutes and the Sky got no closer.
Tamera Young led Chicago with 17 points. She has at least one made 3-pointer in each of the last five games after going nearly five calendar years (June 23, 2011) since her last 3.