Delaware Shuts Down East Carolina For Easy 60-40 Victory in Opening Round of Terrapin Classic
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
COLLEGE PARK, Md. --The 19th-ranked University of Delaware women’s basketball team wasted little time in taking control over East Carolina in the teams’ opening round game at the University of Maryland Terrapin Classic, exploding for a 25-point halftime lead en route to an easy 60-40 win over the Pirates Wednesday afternoon at the Comcast Center.
Delaware, which improved to 10-0 on the season, was again led by junior All-American Elena Delle Donne who surpassed the 20-point mark for the 14th straight game and scored a game-high 22 points to go with nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Akeema Richards (at right) matched her season-high with 10 points, while Danielle Parker added eight points and grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds for the Hens in their first meeting with the Pirates.
The victory set up a much-anticipated matchup against host University of Maryland in the tournament championship Thursday at 7 p.m. The No. 5 ranked Terrapins remained unbeaten at 12-0 with an 84-36 victory over Lafayette in the other first round game Wednesday afternoon. The Terps will be the Hens' second Top 20 opponent this season and their highest ranked foe since the same Maryland team, then ranked No. 3 nationally, downed the Hens 91-43 on Nov. 13, 2007.
The Blue Hens, who have trailed for just 32:53 of 400 minutes this season, erupted for yet another quick start, scoring the game’s first nine points, and did not look back the rest of the way in posting the victory over East Carolina.
Delaware, ranked No. 19 for the second straight week in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, exhibited another strong effort, committing just 10 turnovers on the day. The Hens have now won the rebounding battle in all 10 games this season, taking a 55-34 rebounding advantage over East Carolina, including a 17-4 offensive rebounding edge over the Pirates.
“We were harping on defense, defense, defense against ECU and I thought the first half we were exceptional - we only gave up 10 points," said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, whose team continued its best start in school history. "The second half I was frustrated because we should be more efficient offensively, especially when we start going 10, 11 deep on our bench. I feel like we should be able to hold on to those 25-30 point leads. Good programs do that. Players coming off the bench need to play with the same intensity as the starting rotation of eight or nine. We came here to accomplish one thing, and that was to get to the championship game. We have a chance to play one of the best teams in the country in Maryland and that’s where we are, so we’re very happy about that. It should be a good game tomorrow.”
Delaware started out with an early 9-0 cushion just 3:14 into the contest, marking one of the Hens' top three game starts this season. At the 15:25 mark, Delaware took an 11-2 lead at the first media timeout of the game, improving the Hens’ scoring advantage at the first media timeout to 130-54 on the year.
East Carolina (6-5) scored the next three points but Delaware answered with an 8-0 spurt, including four points by Trumae Lucas, to take a commanding 19-3 advantage on a Parker jumper at the 11:54 mark.
Two free throws by the Pirates’ Chareya Smith cut the ECU deficit to 14, but Delaware continued to roll by scoring the game’s next 11 points to take a 30-5 margin on a Delle Donne layup with 5:33 on the clock. Richards ignited the run with a jumper, and following a three-point play by Delle Donne, Lucas buried a jumper and Lauren Carra hit two free throws as the Blue Hens continued to dominate.
East Carolina, which missed 19 of its first 20 shots from the field, finally connected when Katie Paschal converted a fastbreak layup, but a layup by Blue Hen sophomore Kelsey Buchanan put the margin back at 25.
Despite shooting just 35.9 percent (14 of 39) from the field in the first half, Delaware managed to take a 35-10 lead at halftime over the Pirates, who shot just 11.1 percent from the field, connecting only three of 27 shots. The 10 points allowed were the fewest by the Blue Hens in a half since holding Loyola (Md.) to just seven points on Dec. 14, 2003.
East Carolina came out hot with the first two baskets of the second half on jumpers from Shala Hodges and Chareya Smith. Delaware answered with a 6-0 run up to the 15:44 mark with four back-to-back points from Parker and a Lucas jumper that extended the second half lead to 26. Delaware led by at least 20 until the final two and a half minutes.
Overall, the Hens shot just 35.3 percent (24 of 68) from the field, but managed to hold East Carolina to just 26 percent (13 of 50). Both teams struggled to connect with their three-point shots, as Delaware went 0 of 10 behind the arc and East Carolina went 4 of 20 for just 20 percent.
Delaware, currently ranked fourth in the nation with an 80.7 free throw percentage, went 12 of 15 from the charity stripe for 80 percent on the day, while the Pirates went 10 of 17 for 58.8 percent.
East Carolina starters combined to score just 16 points on 4 of 21 shooting from the field and no Pirate reached doubles figures in points. Paschal came off the bench to lead ECU with eight points.
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