Delle Donne Erupts For 42 Points, Surpasses 2,000 For Her Career As 10th-Ranked Blue Hens Hold Off Hofstra, 89-79
Photo Courtesy of Brian Ballweg (Hofstra Univ.)
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Blue Hen junior All-American Elena Delle Donne erupted for a season-high 42 points and surpassed the 2,000-point mark for her career as the No. 10/9 University of Delaware women's basketball team remained unbeaten in Colonial Athletic Association play with an 89-79 victory over Hofstra Thursday night at the Mack Sports Complex.
Delle Donne (at right), who went 13 of 24 from the field and 13 of 15 from the free throw line, also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and blocked a season-high six shots while eclipsing the 40-point mark for the fourth time this season.
She scored 41 points during the Blue Hens' home victory over the Pride on Jan. 26, giving her 83 in two meetings against Hofstra this year.
Junior guard Trumae Lucas tied her season-high with 15 points to go with seven assists and a season-high five rebounds for Delaware, which won its 13th consecutive game while improving to 23-1 overall and 14-0 in the conference.
Junior forward Danielle Parker contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds to record her third double-double of the campaign. Candice Bellocchio and Katelyn Loper each scored 21 points for Hofstra, which fell to 17-8 overall and 9-5 in the CAA.
Nicole Capurso and Marie Malone also reached double figures for the Pride with 11 points apiece. Bellocchio also dished out a game-high 10 assists while going 7 of 8 from the line.
Leading the CAA averaging 76.1 points per game, Hofstra shot 43.3 percent (29 of 67) from the floor and 65 percent (13 of 20) from the line. The Blue Hens, who rank first in the nation with an 81.7 free throw percentage, went 33 of 67 from the field for 49.3 percent and 19 of 23 for 82.6 percent from the charity stripe in their 57th meeting with the Pride.
“It was a game that’s typical of a Hofstra-Delaware game, which means a lot of up and down action since they play at a different pace than most teams in the league. I was not happy with defense in the first half but they’re a tough team to defend,” said head coach Tina Martin, who reigns as the winningest basketball coach in Delaware history with 301 career wins. “The first thing I talked about at halftime was how bad we played defense. But each of these players are keeping each other level headed, and we were able to make necessary adjustments for the second half. Overall, it’s a good win on the road.”
Similar to this season’s earlier matchup between the two teams, the Blue Hens trailed for a majority of the first half and struggled to keep pace with the fast tempo Pride. Carra hit a layup to start the game off in the Hens’ favor but was quickly answered by baskets from Bellocchio and Loper to give Hofstra its first lead of the game.
A Parker jumper at 17:33 knotted the score 4-4 before the Pride took the lead or a share of the lead until the final second of the first half. The Hens tied it up at 17-17 all on another Parker jumper at the 12:59 mark but Hofstra again took the lead with a layup from Shante Evans.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Lucas evened the score once again at 22-all with 9:59 on the clock, but the Hofstra was not ready to give up the lead just yet. Delle Donne hit a three-ball before Hofstra responded matched with a Thomas three-pointer with 3:40 to go in the first to set the score at 36-33 in Hofstra’s favor.
Parker continued her timely shooting with a buzzer beater to edge the Blue Hens into a 40-39 halftime advantage.
On fire for the Hens, Parker kept up the Blue Hen momentum with another basket to start the second half off with a 10-2 Delaware run that gave Delaware a more comfortable 52-43 lead. At the 14:10 mark, Delle Donne hit a three-pointer to surpass 2,000 career points as she reeled off 14 consecutive Blue Hen points.
The first in Delaware women’s basketball history to join the 2,000 point club, Delle Donne also became the fastest player in CAA history to reach that mark, doing so in just 75 games.
“It’s a big accomplishment, and it’s been an amazing career so far. I’m really just enjoying it every step of the way with my teammates and coaches, but it doesn’t compare to what our team is accomplishing this season,” said Delle Donne, who became the sixth active NCAA Division I women’s basketball player with 2,000 points. “I just don’t want to lose, bottom line. I needed to help my team by scoring and attacking.”
Bellocchio hit a jumper just outside the lane to tighten the score at 72-66 with 5:24 left, but that would be the closest the Pride would get the rest of the way.
The Blue Hens wrap up a three-game road stretch at Drexel (13-11, 9-5) on Sunday, Feb. 22 for a 2 p.m. tipoff.
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