- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2020

The Washington Mystics re-signed forward Emma Meesseman, the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP from Belgium, marking the last big free-agent decision the defending champions had to make.

Washington re-signed Elena Delle Donne last week to a four-year deal but could not hang on to Kristi Toliver, who signed with the Los Angeles Sparks. Toliver said the Mystics didn’t offer her the money she felt she deserved.

Now Meesseman will be back in the fold with Delle Donne. After skipping the 2018 WNBA season to train with her national team, she made a big mark in 2019 and is viewed around the league as an MVP-quality player.

Meesseman shot .552 from the field and averaged 13.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 23 games last year. Mystics coach and general manager Mike Thibault told The Washington Post that Meesseman is only expected to miss “around five games” in 2020 for national team commitments, with the Summer Olympics on the horizon.

The terms of Meesseman’s new deal were not disclosed.

“Emma re-signing is a huge step for our team. Having one of the top players in the world back for the upcoming season gives us a lot of options in how we play,” Mystics coach and general manager Mike Thibault said in a statement. “It’s a great feeling for a coach to have a Finals MVP and a League MVP in Elena Delle Donne lining up opposite each other on the court.”

In a statement of her own, Meesseman nodded toward the Mystics’ goal of repeating as champions at 2020.

“D.C. is my home away from home, so I am so happy to be back with the team and organization,” she said. “I look forward to playing in ESA again with the best fans! Let’s get another one!!!”

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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