Delaware, Delle Donne Take Control Down the Stretch as Blue Hens Knock Off Rival Drexel 53-44
February 5, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- Sophomore All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) ignited a 13-4 run midway through the second half that helped the University of Delaware take control for good and move on to a key 53-44 Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball triumph over rival Drexel before an appreciative crowd Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delle Donne, who led the way for the Hens with 18 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, scored seven points during the pivotal run as Delaware took the lead for good with 11:26 remaining and led by at least five points over the final eight minutes for the victory.
Delaware (13-9, 6-5 CAA), which won its second straight game, avenged a 59-56 loss to the Dragons back on Jan. 9 in Philadelphia and moved past Drexel into sole possession of fifth place in the CAA standings.
Delle Donne, playing in just her third game after missing 11 straight due to Lyme disease symptoms, recorded her 15th career double-double and her third of the season. The sophomore, who recorded her 1,000th career point in Thursday’s 52-37 win over Northeastern, scored 12 of her points and pulled 11 of her rebounds in the second half alone and finished the day with 16 defensive board while also dishing out three assists.
Delaware sophomore guard Lauren Carra added 10 points and seven assists while Sarah Acker came off the bench to add eight points and five rebounds to the cause as the Hens posted a big 43-30 advantage on the boards. Carra registered her 13th straight double figure scoring outing as the Hens snapped a personal three-game losing streak at home to Drexel.
Drexel (13-9, 5-6 CAA), which has lost four of its last six games, got team highs of 17 points and seven rebounds from guard Hollie Mershon while Jasmina Rosseel added 11 points. The Dragon’s leading scorer, senior guard Kamile Nacickaite (17.7 points per game), did not start due to a team violation and contributed just a single three-point field goal in 13 minutes of action.
“This team is starting to believe,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, whose squad will continue action Feb. 10 at Towson. “We’ve got our karma back. It took a couple of games, but we are getting there. We shared the ball today. Drexel played really good defense, but I thought we played really good defense too. It’s just a matter of us hitting our free throws and taking care of the basketball. I thought at first we were a little bit nervous, but we calmed down and really started playing well together. The crowd (highest non-doubleheader crowd of the year at 2,339) was absolutely great. The kids were into it, the bench was into it, the crowd was into it. It was awesome.”
Drexel led for the first nine minutes of the game but Acker hit a jumper to tie the contest at 10-10 that began an 8-0 run that gave the Hens a 16-10 lead with 7:20 remaining and sent them into intermission up 22-16.
But the Dragons scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half and took a 26-24 lead on a three-pointer by Nacickaite. Drexel continued to hold a slim lead and went up 34-31 on a three-pointer by Rosseel at the 12:26 mark.
Delle Donne and the Blue Hens took over from there. The 6-5 sophomore converted a conventional three-point play less than a minute later to tie the score at 34-34 and scored four more points in a 13-4 run that gave Delaware a 44-36 lead with 8:06 left that they would never relinquish.
Drexel cut the Delaware advantage to five three times over the next four minutes but could never get closer. Rosseel hit a triple with 4:46 left to cut the lead to 44-29, but Acker countered with two free throws. Mershon converted a layup with 49 seconds left to narrow the gap to 46-41, but again Delaware responded with three free throws to thwart the run.
Mershon buried a long three with 22 seconds left to cut the lead to 49-44, but again the Hens answered at the foul line as Delle Donne hit four straight down the stretch to seal the win.
“We've been playing phenomenally lately, just having so much fun out there,” said Delle Donne, whose previous career-high for rebounds was a 16-carom effort vs. Northeastern on Jan. 10, 2010. “We are playing with so much intensity and basically just having fun with one another and getting the fans into it. This is so much fun for us.”Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archive