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No. 19 NC State prepares to go without Brown

No. 19 NC State prepares to go without Brown

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State looks likely to be without one of its top players against Atlantic Coast Conference-leading Miami.

Coach Mark Gottfried sounded doubtful about point guard Lorenzo Brown's chances of playing for the No. 19 Wolfpack on Saturday against the No. 14 Hurricanes due to a sprained left ankle.

``We'll see how he feels tomorrow,'' Gottfried said Friday. ``The probability in my mind for him to be recovered enough to cut and move and sprint and jump is pretty slim. I think we'll have to prepare as if he's not going to play and then we'll see and go from there.''

Brown was hurt when he stepped on a defender's foot in the first half of Tuesday's loss at Virginia. He didn't return to the game, hasn't practiced since and has been wearing a walking boot.

Brown, a 6-foot-5 junior, is a preseason all-ACC pick averaging 13 points and an ACC-best 6.9 assists per game in his second season as the Wolfpack's full-time point guard. His presence in the backcourt - he's started 59 straight games dating to the final game of Sidney Lowe's tenure in 2011 - was a big reason why N.C. State was picked to win the league for the first time in nearly four decades.

While Gottfried didn't rule Brown out completely, he also didn't rule out the possibility that he could miss multiple games, either.

``We have to respond to how we're going to play if Lorenzo can't play - and he may not play for a while,'' Gottfried said. ``I don't know. It could be a week. Who knows?''

If Brown can't go, freshman starter Rodney Purvis would likely move over from the wing to the point, while freshman Tyler Lewis would see bigger minutes off the bench after seeing only spot duty in recent games.

Both players were McDonald's All-Americans last season and shared the point guard duties for the rest of the Virginia game. The 6-3 Purvis has started all but two games and is averaging about 10 points per game. The 5-11 Lewis hadn't played more than 6 minutes in an ACC game - he didn't play at all against Maryland - before playing 15 minutes against the Cavaliers.

``Tyler and Rodney both have point guard experience so they need to step in there and do a good job like I know they're capable of doing,'' senior Scott Wood said. ``Obviously if Zo doesn't play, it's going to be a big hurt for us. But at the same time, I feel we have players who can step in and contribute in his absence.''

N.C. State (16-5, 5-3) has just eight scholarship players and has used primarily a six-man rotation this year, so any absence by Brown would be a problem - even if it's only the game against Miami (16-3, 7-0).

``We're doing the same thing in practice just without him,'' Lewis said. ``Hopefully, if he's not able to play, we can come in and make an impact during the game. We're probably not going to do as well as Zo because Zo is the best point guard in the country. But other than that, it's just come in and play with a lot of confidence.''

N.C. State has shown a pattern of playing well in big games at home this year. It's already beaten Duke and North Carolina as part of a 12-0 record at PNC Arena, while the Wolfpack's three league losses have come by a combined six points on the road.

If that trend continues, N.C. State will respond to the challenge of facing the surging Hurricanes in a matchup of ranked teams. The question is whether Purvis and Lewis can do enough to make up for Brown's likely absence and keep the Wolfpack perfect at home.

``We've just got to be ready to play no matter our classification or anything like that,'' Purvis said. ``We were really good players in high school, we've got really good resumes of being good players so this is an opportunity to show it right now.''

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John Wall and Bradley Beal sport Elena Delle Donne’s face mask in WNBA Playoffs

John Wall and Bradley Beal sport Elena Delle Donne’s face mask in WNBA Playoffs

The newest celebrity fashion statement in Washington D.C. is sporting Elena Delle Donne face mask.

Just ask Washington Wizards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

The two Wizards superstars made it out to the Entertainment and Sports Arena supporting their fellow D.C. athletes Thursday evening. The Mystics were playing Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces.

Wall attended Game 1 as well with the Wizards first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura. Several other Wizards were spotted throughout the first two games of the series. 

Since mid-July, Delle Donne has worn a face mask after suffering a nasal fracture in a game. The injury forced the 2019 WNBA MVP to miss two contests until being cleared for play. Even though she no longer is required to wear the mask, medically, Delle Donne continues to wear it for the remainder of the year.

Earlier in the regular season, Redskins running back Derrius Guice also took in a Mystics game in a Delle Donne mask.

Just next time, someone give John a hand. He’s recovering from an injury after all.

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Elena Delle Donne celebrates second WNBA MVP award by crediting others

Elena Delle Donne celebrates second WNBA MVP award by crediting others

WASHINGTON -- A lot can change in four years, and for Elena Delle Donne, that has certainly been the case. As she stood at the podium on Thursday at St. Elizabeth's Arena to accept the 2019 NBA MVP award, she reminisced on her journey since 2015, the first time she got the honors.

Back then she was 26 years old, playing for the Chicago Sky and "wide-eyed," as she put it. A blockbuster trade, several injuries and a wedding later, she is MVP again.

"I've definitely grown so much," Delle Donne said. "It's a different vibe now. I just have a different feel being so settled and happy where I am." 

Delle Donne is quick to deflect compliments and spent much of her press conference tipping her cap to others. She thanked her teammates and coaches and said she wouldn't be able to win MVP without them.

She also thanked the Mystics front office and ownership group as they were getting set for Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces.

"Thank you to the organization. This is a first-class organization that really makes coming to work nice," she said. 

"You get to show up and we have a chef cooking for us. It's just a phenomenal place to be a part of. It feels like a family and I absolutely love D.C."

Delle Donne's most effusive praise was reserved for her wife, Amanda. Delle Donne went into detail about how her support makes the success she has on the court possible.

"She's the one I get to go home to and she keeps my head straight. She has to deal with all my craziness. She makes my pregame meals and basically gets everything in order for me," Delle Donne said.

Though Delle Donne talked mostly about others, the occasion was to celebrate her. Whether she is comfortable talking about herself or not, her accomplishments speak for themselves. She is now one of six players in WNBA history to win multiple MVP trophies and the first to do so with two different teams.

She got 41 of 43 first-place votes this time around after placing second in the league in scoring (19.5 ppg), fifth in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and 11th in blocks (1.29 bpg). She was the first player in WNBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free throw line.

Delle Donne is in the midst of a historic career. And now at 30 years old, she understands her place in the sport has context that goes way beyond trophies at stats.

"It's always incredible to know that something you've done will go down in history. It's even more inspiring to know that there are little girls looking up to me that maybe can do the same or do more. That's what I did when I was younger because I had them to look up to," she said.

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