Delle Donne Selected Preseason Player of the Year; Hens Favored to Win CAA Title
October 18, 2011
Photo courtesy of Mark Campbell
RICHMOND, Va. – After graduating just one member from an impressive 2010-11 squad, the University of Delaware women’s basketball team, which returns all five starters from a year ago, has been selected to finish first in the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Junior All-American Elena Delle Donne, a candidate for national player of the year honors, was named the CAA Preseason Player of the Year as well as first team All-CAA while fellow junior teammate Lauren Carra was named to the honorable mention team.
The announcements were made during the league’s annual Media Day, held at Champps-Pentagon Row in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday afternoon.
This marks the first time since joining the CAA that Delaware has been the league favorite in the preseason polls. It also marks the second time Delle Donne has been the Preseason Player of the Year after sharing the honor a year ago with James Madison’s Dawn Evans.
“We are excited, we are anxious to get going, and we want to prove that we deserve that No. 1 ranking," said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, who will begin her 16th campaign at the helm of the program this winter. "But like I told the team, you don’t get rings for being the preseason favorite. It’s great to be a Blue Hen right now and we are ready and raring to go.”
The Hens concluded last season with a 20-14 overall record, hitting 20 wins for the ninth time in Martin’s career, earning the team a bid to a postseason tournament for the eighth time in 15 years.
Behind Delaware, which finished the CAA regular season with a 10-8 record, Virginia Commonwealth University was selected to finish second ahead of defending champion James Madison. Hofstra was picked fourth with Drexel and Old Dominion both tabbed in fifth place. UNCW earned the No. 7 spot followed by George Mason, William & Mary, Georgia State, Towson, and Northeastern.
Last season, Delaware made a spirited run to the CAA Tournament finals after coming in as the seventh seed. The Blue Hens fell to James Madison 67-61 in the championship game.
With its second-straight 20-win season, Delaware earned a berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament where the Hens dropped a tough 58-55 to the University of Toledo, which went on to win the 64-team tournament.
The Hens return nearly 100 percent of their offense from a year ago led by Delle Donne (at right), who averaged 25.3 points per game. In addition to a potent offense, Delaware brings back a majority of its 2010-11 defense, which finished the year ranked second in the CAA, allowing just 57.9 points per outing. Delaware had the conference’s top shooting defense, forcing opponents to hit only 36.2 percent of the field goals.
Delle Donne, a human services major at the University, would have led the nation in several statistical categories, but missed 12 games due to illness and did not compete in the requisite 75 percent of her team’s games in order to qualify.
Delle Donne (Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy) still netted 557 points, surpassing the 1,000-point mark in just her 38th career game, a Delaware and CAA record. For her efforts, she was named first team All-CAA, selected to the CAA All-Tournament team, and was named an honorable mention Associated Press All-American.
Carra (at left) is back for her third season at Delaware after being named third team All-CAA a year ago. The 5-9 Dunmore, Pa. native was Delaware’s second leading scorer, posting 10.8 points an outing, and led the team with 85 assists.
Delaware kicks off the University’s homecoming events on Friday, Nov. 11 when the Rams of the University of Rhode Island visit the Bob Carpenter Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Acierno Arena.
Great season ticket packages are now available by calling 302-831-2257 or visiting www.bluehens.com online.
2011-12 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1) Delaware; 2) VCU; 3) James Madison; 4) Hofstra; 5) Drexel; Old Dominion 7) UNCW; 8) George Mason; 9) William & Mary; 10) Georgia State; 11) Towson; 12) Northeastern
2011-12 CAA Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Teams
First Team: Andrea Barbour, VCU; Elena Delle Donne, Delaware (Player of the Year); Shante Evans, Hofstra; Courtney Hurt, VCU; Kamile Nacickaite, Drexel
Second Team: Alisha Andrews, UNCW; Chan Harris, Georgia State; Tarik Hislop, James Madison; Tia Lewis, Old Dominion; Taysha Pye, William & Mary
Honorable Mention: Nicole Capurso, Hofstra; Lauren Carra, Delaware; Jasmine Gill, James Madison; Talia Moton, George MasonBack To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archives