Delle Donne Scores 40 as No. 21 Blue Hens Remain Unbeaten in CAA Play With 66-54 Victory at George Mason
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
FAIRFAX, Va. -- The 21st-ranked University of Delaware women’s basketball team won its second consecutive game and remained unbeaten in Colonial Athletic Association play with a 66-54 victory at George Mason Sunday afternoon in a physical battle at the Patriot Center.
Blue Hen junior All-American Elena Delle Donne led the way again by pouring in a season high-tying 40 points while adding 15 rebounds to record her fourth double-double of the season. Delle Donne, who has eclipsed the 30-point mark seven times this year, surpassed the 1,700-point total for her career after breaking the UD scoring record during Thursday’s win over Towson. She also added three blocks and two steals on the day.
Junior Danielle Parker scored 10 points and grabbed a season-best 14 rebounds to post her first double-double of the season for the Blue Hens, who improved to 12-1 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the conference. Junior Lauren Carra added six points and four rebounds to aid the Blue Hen effort while Jocelyn Bailey contributed five points and six rebounds, going 5 of 6 from the line.
Taleia Moton was the only Patriot to reach double figures, scoring 30 points for George Mason, who dropped to 7-7 overall and 1-2 in league play. Rahneeka Saunders contributed with eight points, while Amber Easter and Cierra Strickland chipped in with five points apiece.
The Blue Hens, who have won the rebounding battle in 11 of their 13 games this season, battled on the boards yet again to take a 49-19 rebounding edge over the Patriots, including a 17-4 offensive glass advantage. However, Delaware, ranked 13th in the nation with just 13.8 turnovers per game, struggled to hold on to the ball as the Hens committed 21 turnovers on the day.
“Today was a tough road win," said Delaware head coach Tina Martin. "A lot of times teams use different tactics to try to pull off upsets and the bottom line is our team has to stand up to that. Their tactic was to wear us down and hang all over us, and we missed some shots we’d normally make. Our players really hung tough and allowed a lot to go on. We did what we needed to do to get a win. Everybody chipped in and did their job on the boards. Today at times was a struggle, but we will get better.”
Delaware opened the game on a jumper by Parker, and continued its trend of jumping out to big early leads with an 11-0 run, capped by three consecutive three-pointers from Delle Donne to give the Blue Hens a 13-2 cushion just four and a half minutes into the contest.
Within the first five minutes of play, Delle Donne scored 11 points, including three three-point shots, to go with five rebounds on her way to a double-double. At the 14:39 mark, the Hens outscored the Patriots 13-4, improving to a combined 137-55 margin on the season before the first media timeout.
The Patriots closed to within 17-10 following a jumper by Moton but Delaware quickly responded. A three-pointer by Trumae Lucas was followed by jumpers from Parker and Kelsey Buchanan to make it 24-10 game with eight minutes left to play.
The Blue Hens’ lead eventually grew to 30-14 following a Parker jumper before the Patriots rallied with an 11-0 spurt to pull within 30-25 at the 2:06 mark. Delaware answered back when Delle Donne ended the run with two free throws before Carra converted a layup as Delaware took a 34-25 advantage into the half.
Delaware shot 41.9 percent (13 of 31) from the field in first the half while George Mason shot 40.7 percent (11 of 27). Neither team missed a shot from the line in the first half as Delaware went 4 of 4 from the line and George Mason went 2 of 2.
Delaware opened the second half with an early 7-2 run, going back up double digits on two Bailey free throws with 16 minutes to play. It was still a 43-30 game, but the Patriots scored seven consecutive points to close the gap to just six at 43-37 with 11:04 to play.
However, Delle Donne would score Delaware’s next eight points while Carra added two free throws during a 10-2 Blue Hen run that increased the advantage to 53-39 at the seven minute mark. UD would not be threatened the rest of the way.
The Blue Hens, improving to 9-6 in Fairfax in their 29th meeting with the Patriots, shot 40.0 percent from the field (22 of 55) for the game while George Mason shot 36.4 percent (20 of 55) on the day. Coming into the game with the nation’s leading free-throw percentage at 82.9 percent, the Hens shot a sizzling 18 of 20 for 90 percent from the charity stripe.
The Blue Hens look to remain hot as they return home to continue CAA action vs. UNCW on Thursday, Jan. 12 for a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Bob Carpenter Center.