NEWARK, Del. -- Coming off its best season in school history, the University of Delaware women’s basketball team earned a No. 14 spot in the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll released Wednesday.
Delaware (31-2) had peaked at No. 8 in the same poll for four straight weeks to close out regular season play after the Blue Hens completed a record-breaking season that included their 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 their 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 in school history. After coming in at No. 24 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Nov. 28, Delaware found its way onto the USA Today Poll at No. 25 just one week later.
The Hens, who moved up to as high as No. 7 in the AP poll and No. 8 in the USA Today Poll, also finished a perfect 14-0 run on their home court and set school records for wins in a season (31) and consecutive wins (21).
Leading the way for Delaware this season was junior Elena Delle Donne, who led the nation in scoring with 28.1 points per game, and has been a consensus first team All-American this season, earning honors from the Associated Press,Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), United States Basketball Writers Association, Naismith Award, and John Wooden Award. She has been a national Player of the Year finalist for the WBCA, Naismith, and Wooden awards as well. She also earned the CAA Player of the Year Award this season for the second time in the last three years.
As a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Delaware cruised by host UALR, 73-42, before getting knocked out in the second round by Kansas, which came in at No. 25 in the final poll.
Delaware played four teams ranked in the final Top 25 and posted victories over two of them. The Blue Hens defeated No. 9 Penn State and No. 23 St. Bonaventure and fell to No. 5 Maryland and No. 25 Kansas.