Delaware Puts in Complete Effort, Topples Virginia Commonwealth with 75-67 Victory
February 24, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Chris Mlynarczyk; Homepage File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware women's basketball squad put together one of its most complete efforts of the season Thursday night as the Blue Hens built a 13-point lead midway through the second half behind another stellar effort from sophomore All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) and held on for a 75-67 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Virginia Commonwealth at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware (16-11, 9-7 CAA), which entered the game as the fifth place team in the CAA standings, got 31 points from Delle Donne and 15 points a team-high nine rebounds from junior guard Jocelyn Bailey (bottom left) as the Hens snapped a two-game losing streak and downed the Rams for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
The Hens have two more games - this Sunday at second place Old Dominion and next Wednesday at home vs. 10th place Towson - before heading to the CAA Tournament Mar. 10-13 in Upper Marlboro, Md.
“We’ve had some games earlier this season when we couldn’t hold a lead,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, whose squad grabbed the lead six minutes into the game and led the rest of the way. “But tonight, we were able to finish it off. We executed better, battled on the boards, and kept our composure. When is Elena is on, we are a tough team to beat. Her teammates really helped her succeed tonight. I really liked our team defense tonight and our guards did a great job defending Courtney Hurt.”
VCU (16-10, 11-5 CAA), which entered the game in fourth place and just one game out of the second slot in the league standings, had a three-game win streak snapped despite a career-high 28-point effort from guard Andrea Barbour. Hurt, who leads the nation in rebounding (13.0 per game) and double-doubles, scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her 22nd double-double of the season while Jennifer Lane contributed 10 points and a game-high five assists.
Delle Donne recorded her most complete effort since the first few weeks of the season as she scored 18 first half points to help the Hens jump out to a 37-26 halftime lead and finished with 31 points, hitting 9 of 17 shots from the field, connecting on all 11 of her free throw attempts, pulling seven rebounds, and blocking three shots. She also knocked down both of her three-point attempts after missing 15 straight dating back to early in the month.
She recorded her 13th career 30-point effort, including her fifth this season. She has now drained 75 of her 81 attempts (.926) from the foul line since returning to action in late January after missing 12 games due to symptoms of Lyme disease. The 2010 CAA Player and Rookie of the Year averages 24.4 points per game but has not played enough games to qualify for the NCAA rankings.
“We were very focused and defensively we played lights out tonight,” said Delle Donne. “We executed well on offense too and when that happens it doesn’t matter what defense they throw at you.”
The Hens overcame 18 turnovers by shooting an impressive 51 percent from the field (25 of 49), draining four of eight three-point attempts, and connecting on a sizzling 21 of 25 free throws. Delaware is now 5-0 this season when reaching the 70-point mark as they matched that plateau for just the second time since Jan. 2 and reached its highest point total since late December.
Delaware grabbed the lead for good at 11-10 on two Delle Donne free throws just six minutes into the game and her three-pointer highlighted an 11-0 run that increased the Hens’ lead to 28-16 at the 6:26 mark. Delaware then built that lead to as many as 14 points on a Delle Donne three-point play and took a 37-26 advantage into the break.
The Hens stayed in command in the second half, leading by at least six points and by as many as 14, at 54-40 on a three-pointer by Lauren Carra, until the final seven minutes when VCU rallied back.
The Rams used a 10-0 run, led by five points from Barbour, to narrow the gap to 60-57 with 6:43 remaining and pulled to within three points two more times over the next five minutes, narrowing the gap to 70-67 on a three-point play by Barbour with 1:44 left.
But Bailey answered with a layup with 1:18 left after the Hens broke the press and Delaware got a big break when VCU’s Jessica Taylor missed two free throws 17 seconds later. VCU had made 14 of 15 from the charity stripe prior to the misses. Two free throws from Delle Donne at the 35-second mark and one by Carra with nine seconds left sealed the victory.
“I thought our communication was great tonight,” said Martin. “It shows the maturity of this team. We are starting to get it and there seems to be a certain calmness about this team during the game. A win like we had tonight gives us a lot of confidence heading into this weekend and into the tournament next week.”Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archives