LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – History made. Now on to the next goal.

The No. 7 ranked University of Delaware women's basketball squad continued its history-making season Sunday evening and did so convincingly.

Backed by another huge effort from All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) and an equally reliable defensive effort, the third-seeded Blue Hens rolled over host and 14th seed UALR 73-42 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Jack Stephens Center.

“This is a historical moment for these young ladies and for the University,” said head coach Tina Martin, who led the Hens to their first post-season victory in nine tries, including three NCAA Tournament appearance. “This is our first-ever NCAA win and to get this victory means so much. We’ve been on a mission all year to try and make history. I’m proud of how hard they played and it feels really good.”

Delle Donne, the nation's leading scorer, showed her superior talent on the national stage, exploding for 39 points and pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking three shots as the Blue Hens (31-1) won their 21st straight game and recorded the first post-season victory in school history. Delle Donne’s point total was the highest in an NCAA Tournament preliminary game by any player since Candice Wiggins of Stanford scored 44 against UTEP in 2008.


Lauren Carra (at right) contributed 12 points and Danielle Parker added eight and seven rebounds as the Blue Hens grabbed the lead early and never let up in posting the historic victory.

UALR (21-13), making its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, had a seven-game win streak snapped and suffered its most lopsided home loss of the season. The Sun Belt champions were led by center Marian Kursh, who had team-highs of 12 points and eight rebounds but no other UALR player scored in double figures. Sun Belt Rookie of the Year Taylor Gault was held to just seven points on 3 of 19 shooting.

“With our team defending the way they did today, I could see the momentum picking us up in the second half, " said Martin (at right), whose team held the Trojans to 30 percent shooting from the field (16 of 52) and 2 of 12 three-point shooting while forcing 19 turnovers. "We did what we needed to do defensively. Our defense together as a team ignites us and I’m proud of the team for the way they played today.”


Delaware now heads to the NCAA second round where the Hens will play No. 11 seed Kansas, which upset No. 6 seed Nebraska 57-49 in the other first round game Sunday. The game will begin at 9:40 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on one of the ESPN stations.

“I think our team definitely did a great job introducing ourselves to the country,” said Delle Donne, who posted her 16th double-double of the season and surpassed the 30-point mark for the 12th time this season. “This team hasn’t really been seen nationally and I’m very excited that we finally were. We are all so happy to be in this tournament and we’re ready to go (Tuesday).” 

Delle Donne knocked down 14 of 27 shots from the field and connected on 5 of 8 three pointers and 6 of 7 free throws for her 39 points. Carra also knocked down two three-pointers as the Hens nailed 7 of 12 shots from long range.

“She has such a good aptitude for offense,” said UALR head coach Joe Foley of Delle Donne. “I’ve seen some great players, but nobody is that versatile with that kind of offensive skills who can hurt you anywher on the floor. It’s fun to watch her play but it’s not real fun to coach against her.”

UALR lost for the just the sixth time in 17 home games this season at the Stephens Center and this setback was the most one-sided, surpassing an 83-54 setback to then No. 6 Texas A&M back on Nov. 17.

“They scored the first basket in the game and had the crowd with them,” said Carra. “But when we started to make that 13-0 run after the media timeout it got quiet in the gym and we were able to hear each other and communicate better on the floor, which I think kind of brought UALR down a little bit.”

“Our defense was stellar,” said Trumae Lucas, who dished out a game-high five assists. “We had to make some defensive adjustments throughout the game, but we forced them to 19 turnovers, so we really buckled down on defense and rebounding.”

UALR lost for the just the sixth time in 17 home games this season at the Stephens Center and this setback was the most one-sided, surpassing an 83-54 setback to then No. 6 Texas A&M back on Nov. 17.


Delaware had been 0-8 all-time in post-season appearances, falling in the Women’s NIT Tournament six times and dropping NCAA first round contests at North Carolina State in 2001 and at Michigan State in 2007. It also marked the first post-season win by any UD basketball team as the Blue Hen men have been winless in four NCAA Tournament appearances as well as in one NIT berth and in this year’s CBI Tournament.

This time though, the Hens were not to be denied.

The Trojans came out strong and led 6-4 just under three minutes in as Kursh made two strong inside moves to score.

But Delaware quickly countered with a 13-0 run that was highlighted by seven points from Delle Donne, a Carra three-pointer, and a three-point play following a steal by Lucas. Delaware, which held UALR without a point for just over six minutes during the run, never trailed again.

The Hens built their biggest lead of the first half at 30-19 on a Delle Donne layup with 4:17 left and took a 32-22 advantage into the break. Delaware never let the Trojans get close to the lead in the second half as the Hens outscored them 19-6 over the first nine minutes of the stanza to take a 51-28 lead. Delle Donne netted 13 points during the run.

Martin then cleared the bench in the final minutes as 13 different players saw action.