On the Line
Juggernaut Elena Delle Donne rocketed to the heights of college athletics, then dropped off the map. Now she’s back—happy, fired up, and ready to change the game.
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In August Elena Delle Donne bought a puppy, a puggle she named Riley. Descending the stairway at the Bob Carpenter Center, the site of each of her three Delaware girl’s basketball championships, she reaches into her pocket and produces a cell phone picture of her new pet. “Isn’t she cute?” she asks.
The pup is wearing a miniature Blue Hens basketball jersey. “You can buy UD anything,” she says, all smiles.
After a tumultuous two years that saw the hoops star suffer from burnout and homesickness enough to abandon the top college team in the country, Elena Delle Donne will make her long-awaited return to the basketball court this month as a University of Delaware Blue Hen.
The new chapter in her already-famous career will commence in Newark with a refreshed and confident Delle Donne ready to face new challenges.
At UD, Delle Donne is close to her tight-knit family. Her amazing basketball career, which just one year ago appeared to be dead, is resurrected.
“I feel like I’ve been able to figure things out so much, and I’m so much closer to my family as a result,” Delle Donne says. “I had a problem and I kept it inside for five years. Now if I have a problem, I can easily get through it.”
Friends and family members report Delle Donne seems happier than she’s been in years.
“As soon as she decided to play basketball again, that’s when I noticed her happiness pick back up,” says Ernie Delle Donne, Elena’s father. “It was almost like she’d been to hell and back.”
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