RICHMOND, Va. -- University of Delaware All-American women’s basketball standout Elena Delle Donne was honored by the Colonial Athletic Association this week as she was selected as the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s basketball.
Delle Donne, a junior early childhood education major who owns a 3.6 cumulative grade point average, was one of five CAA student-athletes from winter sports teams recognized for their accomplishments both in the classroom and on the playing fields.
To be eligible, student-athletes must have a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point index, have at least sophomore eligibility, and be a starter or key reserve for their team. The winners were selected by a committee of CAA administrators from nominations by sports information directors of member institutions.
The CAA award is Delle Donne’s second major academic award of the year. In March she was named the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for women’s basketball, becoming the first student-athlete in UD history to earn that prestigious award. She becomes the first UD women’s basketball to be named conference scholar-athlete of the year since Jen Riley was honored by the America East conference in 1992.
One of the NCAA’s top athletes, Delle Donne was dominant on the court during the 2011-12 season, leading the Blue Hens to a historic campaign that saw the squad post a record of 31-2, go undefeated through CAA regular season and tournament play with a record of 21-0, and claim the school’s first NCAA Tournament victory in women’s basketball.
The Blue Hens earned their first national Top 20 ranking, climbing as high as No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, and captured their first CAA Tournament title. The 31 victories set a school record as did the team’s 21-game winning streak which ended with an NCAA Tournament second round setback to Kansas.
Delle Donne, who led the nation in scoring with 28.1 points per game, 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.
Delle Donne, who became only the 15th player in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to surpass the 900-point mark for a season, also led the Blue Hens in rebounding (10.3 per game), blocked shots (86), steals (39), and three-point field goals (52) and ranked second in assists (75) this past season.
Also earning CAA Scholar-Athlete Awards were William & Mary’s Quinn McDowell (men’s basketball) and Andrew Strait (men’s swimming & diving), Drexel’s Lauren Faykes (women’s swimming & diving), and Hofstra’s Steve Bonanno (wrestling).