Blue Hens Share the Ball, Continue to Roll with Dominating 69-37 Victory Over UNCW
Photos Courtesy of Chris Permar
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NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware shared the ball on offense, dishing out a season-high 19 assists, and clamped down on defense, forcing 21 turnovers and 24 percent shooting by UNCW as the No. 20/18 ranked Blue Hens cruised to a 69-37 Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball victory Thursday night at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne, who was honored prior to the game for leading the United States to the gold medal at the World University Games last summer, scored 23 points, pulled five rebounds, and tied a career-high with five assists to lead the way.
The nation's leading scorer at 30.3 points per game, Delle Donne had a streak of three straight 30-point games snapped as she played just 26 minutes, giving way to the Blue Hen backups for much of the second half. Delle Donne, already Delaware’s all-time leading scorer midway through her third season, still managed to surpass the 20-point mark for the 18th straight game dating back to last season.
A total of 10 different Delaware players scored a point, 11 pulled at least one rebound, and seven dished out at least one assist. No Blue Hen player saw more than 28 minutes of action.
Delaware junior guard Lauren Carra (at right) scored 12 points, junior forward Danielle Parker scored four points and pulled nine rebounds, and senior guard Jocelyn Bailey (bottom left) contributed six points and nine rebounds as the Blue Hens (13-1, 4-0 CAA) won their third straight game and remained unbeaten in league play.
The Hens dished out a season-high 19 assists on 31 field goals. Delle Donne and Kayla Miller each dished out five assists while Akeema Richards and Trumae Lucas contributed three helpers apiece.
"Overall, it was a team effort and I'm very pleased with how we played tonight," said Delaware head coach Tina Martin. "Defensively, our forwards did a great job. If we're going to be a good basketball team we need to tighten up our defense and that's what we did tonight. Bottom line is that when this team puts focus into something, we can be very good.”
UNCW (8-7, 1-3 CAA), which was playing the 1,000th game in school history, struggled offensively all night, hitting just 14 of 59 shots from the field (23.7 percent) and just 2 of 17 three-point attempts (11.8 percent). The Seahawks also committed 21 turnovers and were outrebounded 46-37 by the Blue Hens.
No Seahawk player managed to reach double figures for points but Karneshia Garrett led the way with eight points and nine rebounds and Abria Trice contributed eight points.
"We shared the ball very nicely and looked for each other," said Martin. "The two best parts of this team are that we defend, and we share the ball. Every night they're bringing the focus they need to stay a top 20 team. I told them to play defense, and offense will take care of itself.
“The fans are awesome and the team very much looks forward to coming home," said Martin of the enthusiastic crowd of 3,552. "We want people to be excited about our basketball team. You look around this gym and who wouldn't want to play in this atmosphere? The crowd gives us energy. When you get into this arena and you feel the energy and intensity, the team really gets going."
The Blue Hens knocked down 17 of 33 shots in the first half on the way to a 36-20 lead at halftime. Delle Donne scored 14 of her points in the first stanza as Delaware jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first few minutes and later scored 13 straight points to go up 24-7 with 9:17 remaining.
Delaware used an early 8-2 run in the second half to push the lead to 23 points at 47-24. The Blue Hens led by at least 18 points the remainder of the half and were up by at least 20 points over the final 10 minutes of the contest.
Delaware will head to Boston for its next outing Sunday when Delaware takes on host Northeastern and Solomon Court at 2 p.m.