Delaware Dominates Second Half, Defeats Villanova 59-45; Will Meet Duquesne in Blue Sky Classic Championship Game Sunday
December 29, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
• Boxscore (HTML) / PDF
HANOVER, N.H. – Down by two points at halftime, the University of Delaware women’s basketball team came out to hold Villanova University to 11 total points in the second half, including a scoreless draught for the first seven-plus minutes, en route to a 59-45 victory in the first game of the Dartmouth Blue Sky Classic.
Senior All-American Elena Delle Donne collected her first double double of the season and the 37th of her career with a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds. The forward also tallied two blocks, one assist and one steal in 36 minutes of play.
The Blue Hens (7-3) contributed a balanced attack as they nearly saw three other players with double doubles in seniors Danielle Parker (12 points, nine rebounds), Lauren Carra (11 points, six rebounds) and Jaquetta May - at right - (10 points, eight rebounds).
With the win, the Blue Hens snapped Villanova’s eight-game winning streak and now advance to the Blue Sky Championship, where they will face Duquesne at 7 p.m. Sunday. Duquesne defeated host Dartmouth 54-39 in the other first round game Saturday. Delaware will meet Duquesne for the second time this season and will look to avenge a 51-47 setback back on Nov. 14.
The Wildcats (9-2) held a 34-32 advantage to start the second half when UD rattled off 11 unanswered points to go up, 43-34 before Villanova’s Lauren Burford hit a jumper at the 12:50 mark.
“We adjusted our defense at halftime and I thought we did a much better job of communicating on the floor in the second half,” remarked Delaware head coach Tina Martin.
Less than two minutes into the second, Delle Donne banked in a layup to give the Blue Hens a 36-34 lead and Delaware never looked back. The momentum continued to favor UD as senior Kayla Miller took a charge on the defensive end that eventually turned into a layup from Carra.
After two free throws from the Wildcats’ Caroline Coyer, the Blue Hens went on a 12-0 run to take their largest advantage of the night at 57-38 with just over seven minutes remaining in the game.
Delaware would go on to hold Villanova to two field goals and a free throw in the final six-plus minutes of the contest.
“Coach made some tweaks in our defensive scheme at halftime that were huge for us in the second half,” Delle Donne commented. “We needed to focus strictly on defense and that turned out to be the best approach. They’re such a tough team to play defensively, but I felt that we did a really good job.”
The first half was a tight battle with the lead changing eight times and the score tied five times.
With 12:05 left in the first, the Blue Hens took a four-point lead at 12-8 after Carra collected an old-fashioned three-point play with a drive to the basket along the baseline.
Delaware took their largest lead of the first half at the 7:07 mark as Delle Donne drained two free throws to go up, 20-15.
The Wildcats finished the half on a 6-2 run, including two three-pointers.
“We allowed too many easy shots in the first half,” stated May. “We needed to tighten up the defense and that is exactly what we did.”
Delaware currently holds a 4-3 all-time record in the Blue Sky Classic, now in its 36th consecutive season. The Blue Hens won the title during the 2002 season, with current assistant coach Tiara Malcom earning All-Tournament team honors.
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