Delaware Takes League-Leading James Madison Down to the Wire Before Falling 69-64 in CAA Battle
February 20, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware gave league-leading James Madison all it could handle before an enthusiastic, pink-clad Bob Carpenter Center crowd Sunday afternoon, but several ill-timed turnovers down the stretch by the Blue Hens led to a tough 69-64 Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball setback Sunday afternoon.
Delaware (15-11, 8-7 CAA), which fought back the entire second half and took a lead with five minutes left to play, couldn't hold off the Dukes the rest of the way and lost its second straight game while having a two-game home wins streak snapped.
All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) led the Blue Hens with 21 points, but her deep three-point attempt with 12 seconds left was off the mark and James Madison (21-6, 14-1 CAA) rebounded and followed with two free throws to clinch its 12th straight victory.
“It was a great game today between two very good programs,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin. “I'm disappointed for the kids. We just have to try and win this thing (CAA Tournament March 10-13 in Upper Marlboro, Md.) and that's the bottom line. We just have to keep working at it and plugging away.”
The game was played before a spirited season-high crowd of 3,516, many clad in pink to honor the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Pink Zone initiative in support of breast cancer awareness. Delaware also hosted its inaugural Women's Health Awareness Day and saluted cancer victims and survivors and their families in a touching halftime ceremony. Players from both teams wore pink sneakers, wristbands, and shoelaces to show their support and members of both coaching staffs also wore pink.
Delle Donne, who drained 13 of 14 free throws, also pulled a team-high eight rebounds while guard Lauren Carra contributed 17 points and five boards and Sarah Acker (bottom left) came off the bench to add 10 points and seven rebounds. Delle Donne, who scored a career-high 54 points in an overtime loss to JMU last season in Harrisonburg, Va., had a streak of 22 straight free throws made snapped in the second half and has now converted 64 of her last 70 attempts (91.4 attempts) over seven games since returning to action Jan. 30 vs. Hofstra. She had missed 11 games earlier this season while suffering from symptoms of Lyme disease.
James Madison, which has not lost since a 71-55 setback at Old Dominion back on Jan. 9, got another big effort from senior guard Dawn Evans, who poured in a game-high 27 points, including four three pointers, while pulling down seven rebounds and dishing out five assists. The nation's third leading scorer at 23.8 points per game, she drained two free throws with eight seconds left to ice the victory for the Dukes.
Center Lauren Jimenez added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Dukes before fouling out with 3:27 left while Tarik Hislop chipped in with 11 points and Jalissa Taylor added eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds and hit one free throw with 32 seconds left to help seal the victory. James Madison, the defending CAA champions, downed the Hens for the fifth straight time and took an 11-10 lead in the all-time series between the two perennial CAA contenders.
Delaware took a 35-33 lead at break to close out a competitive half that saw four lead changes and four ties.
James Madison came out strong early in the second half, outscoring the Hens 12-4 over the first five minutes to take a six-point lead at 45-39. The Dukes pushed that lead to as many as seven points twice, peaking at 53-46 on two free throws by Hislop at the 10:55 mark.
But Delaware rallied back with a 10-0 run, hitting five free throws and taking the lead at 54-53 on a three-pointer by Carra and going up by three on two Carra free throws at the 6:40 mark.
The game featured four ties and four lead changes over the next four minutes with the Hens going up 64-62 on two Delle Donne free throws with 3:26 left and JMU’s Hislop countering with two of her own from the charity stripe to tie the score for the 12th time at 64-64 at the 2:53 mark.
But Delaware struggled with the ball down the stretch, turning the ball over on three straight possessions. James Madison took advantage as Evans hit a jumper with 1:45 left to give the Dukes the lead for good at 66-64. Acker had the chance to tie the game for the Hens at the 1:08 mark but missed two free throws.
Taylor was fouled after retrieving an offensive rebound for James Madison with 32 seconds left and hit one of two free throws to push the Dukes lead to 67-64. Delaware had another chance to tie but Delle Donne was short a three-point attempt from deep beyond the arc on the right wing with 12 seconds left. Evans grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and calmly sank two free throws to seal the victory.
Delaware will return to action this Thursday, Feb. 24, when the Blue Hens host Virginia Commonwealth at 7 p.m.Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archive