Delle Donne Pours in 36 Points as Blue Hens Open Season with a Bang in 59-44 Win over UMBC
November 12, 2010
Photos Courtesy of Chris Permar
NEWARK, Del. – Thanks to Elena Delle Donne, the University of Delaware women’s basketball team started the season off with a bang Friday night.
The sophomore All-American, who was named to virtually every pre-season national player of the year watch list, once against proved her value as one of the nation’s top players as she poured in 36 points and led the Blue Hens to a season-opening 59-44 non-league women’s basketball victory over UMBC Friday night before 2,079 fans at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The 6-5 Delle Donne (top right) scored 19 points in the opening half to help the Hens to a 29-18 lead at the break and keyed the Delaware attack in the second half as Delaware held off a second half surge by the Retrievers (0-1). The 36 points was the fourth highest single game total in school history and most ever by a Delaware player on opening night.
The Hens, coming off a 21-12 record a year ago when they advanced to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, won their seventh straight season opener and seventh straight home opener but had to grind it out. The Hens, ranked No. 24 in collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, shot just 34.6 percent from the field (18 of 52) and committed 23 turnovers but they controlled the board by a wide 48-31 margin as five different players pulled down six or more caroms.
Eva Riddick (bottom left), the team’s lone senior, led the way with eight rebounds while Delle Donne and junior Jocelyn Baily each collected seven boards and sophomore Lauren Carra added six rebounds, five points, and a team-high four assists.
Delle Donne, the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Player and Rookie of the Year who ranked fourth in the country with a 26.7 scoring average, reached the 30-point mark for the ninth time in her short career and surpassed the 20-point plateau for the 25th time in 30 career games. She hit just 13 of 29 shots from the field but drained four three-pointers and hit all six of her free throws to lead the Delaware attack. The 36 points was the third highest scoring game of her career, trailing only a 54-point effort at James Madison and a BCC-record 39-point outburst at home against Buffalo last season.
“We are very happy with the victory,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, who improved to 14-1 in home openers in her 15th season at the helm of the Blue Hens. “We have a lot of things we need to work on but our defense stepped up big when we needed it to tonight.”
UMBC, coming off a 13-17 record a year ago, turned the ball over 18 times and shot just 28.1 percent from the field, going just 16 of 57 from the field and 6 of 19 from beyond the three-point arc. The Retrievers made just 7 of 30 first half shots, scoring just four points in the first 10 minutes as they fell behind 13-4 midway through the half.
Erin Brown and Raven Gerald came off the bench to lead UMBC with 12 and 11 points respectively while Meghan Colabella scored four points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. Gerald connected on three three-pointers to help UMBC get back into the game.
Delaware overcame a sluggish start to take a 29-18 lead into halftime and pushed the lead to as much as 16 points at 37-21 with 16:20 left to play when Delle Donne completed a conventional three-point play.
But UMBC continued to fight and quickly got back into the game as Brown hit two consecutive three-pointers and Michelle Kurowski followed with another as part of a 9-0 run that narrowed the gap to 38-30 with 11:35 left. The Retrievers pulled to within five points at 40-35 on a three-point play by Kurowski with 8:54 remaining but could never get closer.
Carra ended the five-point UMBC run with a three-pointer from the top of the key to push the lead back up to eight points and the Retrievers never got closer than seven points the rest of the night. Delle Donne scored seven points and Danielle Parker added six over the final five minutes of action to keep UMBC at bay.
Delaware will continue action Tuesday when the Blue Hens host Big East contender Villanova at 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center.Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archive