HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – After moving out of the starting lineup and playing limited minutes in the last few weeks, Akeema Richards (Baltimore, Md.) stepped up huge Thursday evening as the senior led the University of Delaware women’s basketball team to a 55-50 victory over Hofstra University at the Mack Sports Complex.

With the win, the Blue Hens improved to 18-8 overall and 10-5 in Colonial Athletic Association play while remaining in second place in conference standings.

Richards came off the bench and tallied 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line in addition to collecting three assists, two rebounds and one steal in 25 minutes of play, her most since playing 27 against Drexel on Jan. 19.

Redshirt sophomore Joy Caracciolo (Manassas, Va.) also collected 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting with two free throws for Delaware.  

Freshman Erika Brown (Haledon, N.J.) posted 10 points and a game-high six assists while classmate Hannah Jardine (St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada) registered a team-best seven rebounds and three steals in the victory.

The Hens led for the majority of the first half before Ruth Sherrill recorded four straight points to give Hofstra a 17-14 advantage with just under three minutes to go before the break.  The Pride went up, 19-17, before Delaware finished the stanza on a 6-0 run to hold a 23-17 lead going in to the locker room.

In the second half, UD went up by as much as 12 with 13:32 to go.  Senior Kelsey Buchanan (South Riding, Va.) knocked down two jumpers with about two minutes remaining to give Delaware an 11-point lead at 54-43, but HU would rally for five straight points to challenge the Hens.  Time was not on the Pride’s side as UD would come out victorious.

Sherrill led all scorers with 16 points while Anma Onyeuku and Elo Edeferioka each posted double doubles for Hofstra (11-14, 6-8 CAA).  Onyeuku tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds while Edeferioka collected 10 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Head Coach Tina Martin
“I don’t care how ugly tonight’s game was, it was win number 18, number 10 in the conference and we’re in second place in the CAA.  I’m just happy to get out of here with a win.  That’s all that matters.  Our young players are really struggling right now and Akeema Richards stepped up big time tonight as a senior.  She played huge, hats off to her.  She gets what the word team is all about.  Her minutes have gone down in the recent weeks, but she kept her head up and has been all for the team.  Akeema’s decision-making tonight was exceptional and she really paid attention to what we talked about all night.”

Senior Akeema Richards
[On playing time as of late]: “Coach has told me to be patient and my time would come.  I knew I needed to stay focused these past few weeks.  Jodi, Courtni and Erika have all been playing really well and I’m going to support my team no matter what.  Whatever I need to do for them to get the win, I’m going to do it.  I’ve always been a team player and when Coach asks me to do something or when it’s time to let other players step up, I’m not going to have any problems doing it.  I’m not going to take it personal or take any offense to not playing.  When I do play, I’m going to play my heart out.”
[On win vs. Hofstra]:  “This was definitely a statement game.  We needed this ‘W’ to gain confidence going to Northeastern and then the conference tournament coming up in a couple of weeks.”

     ·   Delaware snapped a two-game losing streak.
     ·   With a win at Northeastern, the Blue Hens would lock up the second seed in the conference standings.
     ·   UD has had at least two players score in double figures in all 26 games this season.
     ·   The Blue Hens are now 52-10 all-time against the Pride and have won seven straight and 10 of the last 11.
     ·  Hofstra outrebounded Delaware, 50-33.
     ·  The Hens collected 23 points off of 19 Pride turnovers.

     ·  Sunday, March 2 – Delaware at Northeastern* - 2 p.m. – Cabot Arena (Boston, Mass.)
     ·  Friday, March 15 – CAA Tournament – Time TBA – Show Place Arena (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
     ·  Saturday, March 16 – CAA Tournament – Time TBA – Show Place Arena (Upper Marlboro, Md.)