Delle Donne Erupts for Season-High 41 Points as #15 Delaware Dominates Second Half in 84-66 Triumph Over Hofstra
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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NEWARK, Del. -- University of Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) erupted for a season-high and building record 41 points and sophomore Lauren Carra (bottom left) contributed a season-high 16 points as the No. 15 ranked Blue Hens broke open a close game with a dominating second half on the way to an 84-66 Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball triumph over Hofstra Thursday night at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware (17-1, 8-0 CAA), which won its seventh straight victory despite trailing by nine points in the first half, reeled off 14 straight points to break a 55-55 tie midway through the second half and cruised to the win in a battle for first place in the CAA standings.
Delle Donne, who hit on 14 of a career-high tying 29 shots from the field, added a game-high 15 rebounds, and dished out five assists, and Carra each drained a three-pointer during the pivotal stretch. Following the 14-0 run that gave the Hens a 69-55 lead, Hofstra never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
The nation’s leading scorer at 27.9 points per game, Delle Donne surpassed her previous season-high and previous BCC record of 40 points scored vs. Penn State on Nov. 17 and her 40 points vs. George Mason on the road on Jan. 8. She has now surpassed the 40-point mark five times in her three-year career.
The Pride (14-5, 6-2 CAA), who had won five of their last six games, got a balanced effort as All-CAA forward Shante Evans scored 22 points and pulled seven rebounds while Katelyn Loper added 14 points and Candice Bellocchio contributed 10 points, a game-high seven assists, and five rebounds. Hofstra entered the game leading the CAA in scoring offense with 77.2 points per game and were held under 70 points for only the seventh time this season.
“It was intense out there tonight,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, whose Delaware squad is now 27-1 all-time vs. Hofstra in games played in Newark. “Our players did a good job of keeping their composure and not panicking even though we did get behind. They realized they were in a battle and you have to adjust on the fly sometimes to what’s going on on the floor. We did a great job screening for Elena, and when they doubled her we had players step up and make the open shots. Tonight shows the difference of being a young team and being the team we are now.”
Kelsey Buchanan came off the bench to score a career-high nine points and Danielle Parker added eight points and eight rebounds for Delaware. The Hens held a commanding 48-25 edge on the boards, dished out 17 assists, shot 18 of 22 from the foul line, and were just under 50 percent shooting from the field for the game, hitting 31 of 65 shots.
Delaware, one of just six teams nationally with one loss or less this season, shot 51 percent from the field (16 of 31) in the first half but found itself tied at 37-37 at the break an intense first half. The Hens never held the lead outright and the Pride led by as many as nine points at 19-10 after a three-pointer by Katelyn Loper with 11:25 left in the stanza.
The Hens still trailed by seven with 5:29 left to play but outscored the Pride 13-6 the rest of the way, getting five points from Buchanan during the stretch, to knot the score at 37-37 at the break.
A frantic start to the second half featured four ties and five lead changes in the first four minutes. When Evans hit a jumper to open the half and give Hofstra a 39-37 lead, it marked the first time this season that Delaware had trailed in the second half against a CAA opponent.
But Delaware regained the lead and owned a six-point cushion at 55-49 following a Carra layup, but Hofstra fought back to tie the score as Bellocchio and Evans converted layups and Bellocchio connected on two free throws with 11:11 left to knot the score at 55-55.
Delaware took over from there as the Hens started a 14-0 run that put the game away. A layup by Jocelyn Bailey with 10:28 left put the Hens up for good and Carra and Delle Donne connected on three-pointers just 29 seconds apart to push the lead to 65-55. By the time Hofstra ended its drought of just over five minutes without a field goal on a layup by Bellocchio with 6:31 remaining, the Hens had built an unsurmountable 69-55 lead.
The Hens will return to action Jan. 29 when they head to two-time defending CAA champion James Madison for a 7 p.m. matchup.
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