How Kahleah Copper and Elena Delle Donne Perform as the Playoffs Approach

Let’s take a tour of the WNBA, where six local imprints play throughout the league, even though the closest team to Philly is the New York Liberty.

The group consists of two current All-Stars, a seven-time All-Star roster and a two-time MVP. The WNBA playoffs begin on September 23, so teams enter the stretch run, where the stars shine the brightest. Some of them happened to be from Philadelphia, South Jersey, and Delaware, or attended a Big 5 school.

Here’s an update on recent appearances and prospects for local WNBA players.

Chicago just finished one of the toughest stretches on his schedule. The Sky went 3-2 on a five-game road trip with matchups against the top three teams in the Western Conference.

Copper was a big part of Sky’s success on that road trip and this season. The North Philly resident and graduate of Prep Charter averaged 17.8 points over the course. Her best performance came just hours before her 27th birthday. Copper cut to the basket, knocked down big shots and took over late against the Seattle Storm. She scored a season-high 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting.

The Sky is the No. 2 seed in the East and has a starting lineup to rival the best in the league. The rise of Copper is an important reason for this.

» READ MORE: How Philly-born Kahleah Copper Became a WNBA All-Star

Have you forgotten Elena Delle Donne? Before the injury, she had a strong case for being the best player in the world after winning a WNBA title and taking MVP honors with two different teams.

And in that 2019 WNBA Finals win, she played through three hernias that required off-season surgery. Between back surgery and her well-known chronic Lyme disease, it’s been nearly two seasons since Delle Donne adjusted.

The Delaware native returned against Seattle on Aug. 22, scoring 16 points in 22 minutes and 27 seconds. She played two more games, but the back problems flared up again and the Mystics are playing it safe.

Delle Donne is not expected to travel on a road trip to Minnesota and Seattle. The Mystics are fourth in the East with six games to go.

Natasha Cloud sat out last season to focus on social injustices and returned to a team that was very different from the 2019 championship version.

In some ways, the role of the St. Joe’s product has changed. She has averaged 6.7 assists in her career.

Known for her passion and intensity, especially on defense, Cloud had her signature performance against the Dallas Wings last Saturday, scoring 21 points and adding five assists.

Every Mystics win is magnified during this playoff push, especially with Delle Donne and Tina Charles battling injuries.

» READ MORE: Former St. Joe’s Star, WNBA Champion Natasha Cloud Becomes Converse Hoops’ First Female Athlete

It was a breakthrough year for the first All-Star. Laney may have found a home on her fifth team in six seasons.

Laney averages 17.2 points and 5.0 assists. The native of Smyrna, Del., is the daughter of Philadelphia basketball legend Yolanda Laney, and now she’s creating her own path to greatness.

Along with former No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu, Laney is an important part of New York’s reconstruction effort. The Liberty occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

The 16-year-old WNBA veteran is steadily climbing the all-time rankings. Dupree is now sixth in rebounds and fourth in scoring in WNBA history. She is also first in games played.

The Temple alumna signed with the Seattle Storm offseason, but was waived after 16 games.

Dupree later signed with the Atlanta Dream and has a 7.8 point average. She suffered a back injury and has not played since August 21 due to a back injury, but a return is imminent.

Peddy came on the scene last year with one of the biggest shots of the season. The Temple product plays behind All-Stars Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi, so there aren’t many minutes to go around, but she’s been a consistent option from the bench.

Peddy scored 11 points and was 3-for-6 of three in Phoenix’s win against the Sky on Tuesday. It was a great achievement as the Sky is chasing the Mercury for the playoffs place.

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