Takeaways: Washington Mystics optimistic about future after getting swept by Lynx in WNBA semifinals

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: Sylvia Fowles /
2 of 5

Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver feel happy about their big moves

The Mystics won the WNBA offseason when it traded for 2015 MVP Elena Delle Donne and snatched Kristi Toliver form the championship LA Sparks in free agency.

Both players came to D.C. for different reasons — Delle Donne because she wanted to spend the prime of her career closer to her family in Delaware and in a family-oriented organization; and Toliver because she wanted the chance to develop as a leader, on and off the court.

If either of them have any regrets, they’ve got an award-winning poker face.

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 17: Kristi Toliver /

Delle Donne didn’t have MVP numbers this year, but she still averaged 19.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and shot 49.4 percent from the field, making it the most accurate season of her career. She missed nine games with injury, but she still seems to have found the happiness and camaraderie in D.C. that she so craved — and she made sure she told her teammates that after the game.

“I love this team, it’s been one heck of a year, and we truly enjoy being around one another,” Delle Donne said. “It’s an infectious environment, and that’s all you can ask for, and you can only build when you have a group like that.”

Toliver, meanwhile, had the least accurate year of her career, but was able to take the team on her shoulders when it needed it the most in the postseason; all of her teammates cited her leadership as being integral to getting them past the Dallas Wings in the first round of the playoffs, and obviously, her nine three-pointers at Madison Square Garden in the second round were instantly legendary.

“You just have to bring it every day, and just kind-of set the tone and be the example,” Toliver told The Summitt. On the Sparks, Toliver could always pass the leadership duties off to others. That’s no longer an option, and she loves it.