Acker Shines in Home Debut, Unbeaten Delaware Controls the Glass in 68-52 Victory Over St. Francis (Pa.)
Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- Junior center Sarah Acker notched a double-double in her home debut with 13 points and 12 rebounds and the University of Delaware dominated the glass and remained unbeaten with a 68-52 non-league women's basketball victory over St. Francis (Pa.) Tuesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Blue Hens, who enjoyed a 56-37 advantage on the boards and blocked 10 shots on the night, improved to 4-0 for the first time since the 1992-93 team won its first five games as All-American sophomore Elena Delle Donne overcame a slow start to finish with 26 points and 12 rebounds and junior forward Danielle Parker matched a career-high with 12 boards. Delle Donne, who entered the game averaging 37.0 points per game, was held to just six points on 3 of 11 shooting in the first half but finished with her 14th career double-double.
St. Francis (1-4), which converted just 19 of 67 shots from the field on the night, never held the lead the entire night despite pulling to within two points with just under 13 minutes remaining. Samantha Leach led the Red Flash with 12 points while Allison Daly added 11 points and seven rebounds and Shené Fleming contributed eight rebounds. The Red Flash dropped to 0-3 vs. Colonial Athletic Association opponents this season.
Acker (at right), a 6-1 left-hander and a first-year transfer from Saint Joseph's, was playing just her second game for the Blue Hens after being declared eligible last week. She had nine rebounds in her debut Saturday in a 79-61 Delaware win over Yale, but she was even better on Tuesday night. She came off the bench to knock down 4 of 8 shots from the field and pull 12 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
“We just dug down deep and just kept hustling and that was all we needed tonight,” said Acker, a native of Nanticoke, Pa. “We know to just hustle, hustle, hustle and try to get to the spots where we needed to be. We stayed down and played good defense, keep our hands up, and we came out with a win.”
Sophomore guard Lauren Carra (at left) also contributed nine points for the Hens while Vanessa Kabongo added seven points. The Hens overcame 37.7 percent shooting from the field (23 of 61) and 17 turnovers by knocking down 19 of 23 free throws and owning the glass. Delaware, which collected 16 offensive boards, posted its highest rebound total since pulling 57 against Hofstra in a 70-54 win on Jan. 23, 2005.
Despite the final 17-point margin, the game was close for most of the night with the Hens unable to pull away until the final five minutes when they scored seven straight points over a span of 1:44 to push the lead to 12 points.
“They play very well together,” said Delaware head coach of Tina Martin of a St. Francis team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season for the 11th time in the last 15 years. “These seniors from Saint Francis have been to the tournament a couple of times. They went last year and they went two years prior to that. They understand about waiting back on people. Their kids are winners. And (head coach) Susan Robinson Fruchtl was an All-American at Penn State, and she's not going to let her team quit. And that's what I told my team. I told them ‘you have to keep fighting.’”
Delaware led the entire first half but never by more than seven points, posting their biggest lead at 23-16 with 7:27 left on an Acker shot in the lane. But St. Francis rallied as the Red Flash converted three three-pointers over the next three minutes, including two by Daly, to narrow the deficit to 26-25 with 3:46 left. The Hens gained a little breathing room, getting back-to-back layups from Delle Donne and Jocelyn Bailey to take a 30-26 lead at the break.
The Delaware advantage remained in single digits well into the second half with St. Francis pulling to within a basket at 35-33 with 12:45 remaining when Leach knocked down two free throws to finish off a 7-2 run that she started with a three-pointer.
But Carra responded for Delaware with a basket, and after Delle Donne knocked down a three-pointer 32 seconds later, added another layup as part of a 7-0 run that pushed the lead up to 42-33 with 9:31 left. The Red Flash used a three-pointer by Lilley with 7:32 left to cut the margin to six, but that was as close as St. Francis would get the rest of the way as Acker and Delle Donne each followed with two free throws each to up the margin to double digits.
Delaware will return to action Sunday when the Blue Hens travel to Philadelphia to take on La Salle at 2 p.m.Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archive