WASHINGTON – The University of Delaware women's basketball team's memorable 2011-12 season is reaching new heights this week as national leaders honor the Blue Hens for their hard work and accomplishments this past season.
The Blue Hens were given a personal tour of the White House and honored with a poolside dinner at Vice President Joe Biden’s Naval Observatory residence on Tuesday.
The tour included trips through the Rose Garden, Oval Office, West Wing, and the White House Basketball Court.
"A couple transfers and all of a sudden the whole campus is excited,” said the Vice President, who was among sellout crowd of 5,021 in attendance at the Bob Carpenter Center when the Blue Hens defeated Drexel back in February. “It wasn’t just me. It was like they’re drawing more enthusiasm than a lot of the other teams. The interesting thing to me is that it only takes one or two superstars to begin to build a successful program and attract other kids.”
Delaware head coach Tina Martin presented Biden with a basketball signed by each of the team's members and coaches in thanks of his support and recognition throughout the 2011-12 season.
“It was a wonderful day and a great experience for all of our players and staff,” said Martin, the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year. "I can't even express my gratitude to the Vice President, his office, and the White House for allowing us to have this wonderful experience. Its something we will always cherish."
The team will also travel to Dover, Del. on Thursday to tour Legislative Hall and receive recognition from the House of Representatives, State Senate, and Governor’s Office.
Delaware (31-2) recently completed a record-breaking season that included its first NCAA Tournament victory, an undefeated conference run, and a first-ever Colonial Athletic Association title.
This memorable season began for the Hens after stunning then No. 11 Penn State in an 80-71 upset at the Bob Carpenter Center in just the second game of the season as Delaware defeated its highest ranked opponent in school history. Delaware’s success earned the team national recognition as the Blue Hens cracked the national polls for the first time.
The Hens, who finished out the regular season with a No. 7 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, also established a perfect 14-0 run on their home court and set school records for wins in a season (31) and consecutive wins (21).
Delaware was led by the CAA Player of the Year, All-American Elena Delle Donne, and Lauren Carra, a third team All-CAA selection. Delle Donne, also the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year, led the nation in scoring throughout the 2011-12 season, averaging 28.1 points per game. The Wilmington, Del. native became Delaware’s all-time leading scorer for both men and women at Drexel on Feb. 19 as she surpassed 2,030 career points, breaking the mark held by Mike Pegues, a current UD men's basketball assistant coach who played for the Hens from 1996-2000.
Carra capped a solid junior campaign, joining Delle Donne as the only two Blue Hens to average double-digit points, posting 10.2 per game. The junior scored a season-high 22 points as she drained her 100th career three-pointer during the Hens’ 72-65 victory at James Madison on Jan. 29. She currently ranks fourth in Blue Hen history with 128 career three-pointers made.