ORLANDO, Fla. – The University of Delaware women’s basketball team exploded for 51 second-half points Saturday afternoon as the Blue Hens defeated Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 71-42, in the opener of the University of Central Florida Thanksgiving Classic at CFE Arena.

UD (5-1) held SIUE (1-5) to just 8.3 percent (2-for-24) shooting from the field in the first half, but allowed nine free throws en route to a 20-15 lead at halftime.

Delaware came out of the locker room a changed team as the Hens took a 19-point advantage at 37-18 within the first five minutes of the second half. 

Senior Kelsey Buchanan (South Riding, Va.) led all scorers with 17 points in just 16 minutes of play due to foul trouble.  She added five rebounds, two assists and two steals in the victory.

Classmate Akeema Richards (Baltimore, Md.) paced the Hens with a career-best 16 points and four assists while redshirt sophomore Joy Caracciolo (Manassas, Va.) tallied 13 points, six rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists.

Allyssa Decker led the Cougars with 11 points while Tierny Austin added nine points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Head Coach Tina Martin – “Overall, we did a better job in the second half and we got more people involved.  We really struggled in all aspects in the first half and it was frustrating.  We didn’t run the plays we were supposed to and we were totally out of sync.  When Kelsey and Joy got in foul trouble, we’re taken out of our rhythm as both are very good scorers on the low block.”

Senior Akeema Richards – “We came out really flat in the first half.  We picked up our defense in the second half and our offense followed.  [On adjusting to different positions]: It’s been a huge challenge this year to adjust.  Whatever coach asks me to do, I will adjust to do it to the best of my ability.  I’m a little bit more comfortable in my position in the win versus the point guard.  My personality and character is not calm like the point guard needs to be.”
     ·   Kelsey Buchanan has scored double figures in all six games this season.
     ·   The Hens have had at least three players score in double figures in all five wins this year.
     ·   Delaware has won four straight games and is 3-0 away from the Bob Carpenter Center this season.
     ·   The last time UD held an opponent to single figure field goals made came on Jan. 10, 2013 when George Mason made just eight field goals.  Prior to that, Penn made nine field goals on Nov. 30, 2005.
     ·   Earlier this season, UD held Rhode Island to just 15 first-half points.

     ·   Sunday, Dec. 1 – Delaware vs. Howard (at UCF Thanksgiving Classic) – 12:30 p.m. – CFE Arena (Orlando, Fla.)
     ·   Sunday, Dec. 15 – Delaware at Princeton – 2 p.m. – Jadwin Gym (Princeton, N.J.)
     ·   Friday, Dec. 20 – Delaware vs. Youngstown State (at Lehigh Christmas City Classic) – 5 p.m. – Stabler Arena (Bethlehem, Pa.)