No. 24 Delaware Overpowers Wm. & Mary in First Half, Cruises to 73-57 Triumph in CAA Opener for Best Start in School History
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware women's basketball team needed just one good half to make history Sunday in the team's Colonial Athletic Association opener at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The No. 24 ranked Blue Hens overpowered William & Mary in the opening half and then overcame a sluggish second half to post a 73-57 victory in the league opener for both teams before 3,365 appreciative fans.
The victory kept Delaware unbeaten at 6-0, marking the best start in the 41-year history of the program. Prior to this season, the Hens had started out with five straight wins just twice, breaking out to perfect 5-0 starts in 1992-93 and last season.
Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne scored 19 of her game-high 23 points in the first half and added nine rebounds, five assists, and three blocked shots in an all-around effort. The nation’s leading scorer at 30.6 points per game, Delle Donne surpassed the 20-point mark for the 10th straight game since last season.
Senior guard Jocelyn Bailey (at right) supported the Blue Hen effort with 11 points and five rebounds off the bench while junior guard Lauren Carra chipped in with 10 points.
William & Mary (4-3, 0-1 CAA) battled back in the second half to make the final score respectable, outscoring the Hens 38-29 in the final stanza when the Tribe shot 43 percent from the field and knocked down 6 of 11 three-point attempts.
The Tribe, which had a three-game winning streak halted, was led by guard Janine Aldridge who drained five three-pointers and finished with 17 points while Emily Correal added 11 points and pulled a team-high 10 rebounds.
Delaware led from start to finish and the Tribe never got closer than the 16-point final margin after the midway point of the first half. The Blue Hens, the pre-season favorite to capture the CAA title, defeated William & Mary for the sixth straight time and improved to 15-4 all-time vs. the Tribe.
“We played very well in the first half but the intensity dropped in the second half,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin. “We need to shut the door when we have that kind of lead. We just need to learn to get it (intensity) back no matter how much we are up or who is on the floor. We’re trying to become a really good team so the intensity always has to be at a high level. With our current players, we can get to that next level. It was great to see all the fans come out and we hope that they will continue to do so. They are our sixth man. There’s an excitement in the air about this team right now and the more the merrier.”
Ranked in the national top 25 for the first time and coming off an impressive 81-70 victory over an impressive Princeton team in their last outing, the Blue Hens stormed out Sunday vs. William & Mary and took control early. The Hens scored the game’s first eight points - including four from Akeema Richards - and later used a 12-1 spurt to take a 20-6 lead just over seven minutes into the game.
Another 14-2 run later in the half, which included eight points from Delle Donne (at left), pushed the margin to 37-13 and the Hens built their biggest lead at 26 points at 41-15 when Delle Donne hit two free throws with 3:58 left in the half. The first free throw gave Delle Donne 1,500 points for her career, making her just the sixth player in UD history to reach the mark.
Delaware eventually took a 44-19 lead into halftime thanks to sizzling 53 percent shooting from the field (18 of 34) and a 24-16 rebounding advantage. William & Mary put itself in a hole by converting just 6 of 27 first half shots (22.2 percent).
Despite hitting just 10 of 29 second half shots, the Blue Hens still maintained at least a 20-point lead until the 3:19 mark of the second half when Aldridge knocked down a three-pointer to narrow the gap to 67-48.
“We came out huge in the first half, but we need to grow as a team and come out better in the second half,” said Carra, a pre-season All-CAA selection. “We are working as hard as ever, if not harder, now that we know there’s a target on our back.”
Delaware will have just 24 hours to enjoy the victory as the Hens will play for the second consecutive day on Monday when they host Yale (4-2) at 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center.Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archives