Delle Donne, Carra Spark Delaware Comeback as 15th-Ranked Blue Hens Down James Madison, 72-65
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
HARRISONBURG, Va. – Junior All-American Elena Delle Donne scored 23 points while Lauren Carra added a season-high 22 as the 15th-ranked University of Delaware women's basketball team rallied from seven points down in the second half to pull out a 72-65 comeback victory over James Madison Sunday night at the JMU Convocation Center.
Delaware (17-1, 9-0 Colonial Athletic Association), which won its eighth straight victory despite trailing by five at halftime, snapped a six-game losing steak to two-time defending CAA champion James Madison, which fell to 15-5 on the season and 6-3 in CAA action in the 23rd meeting between the teams.
The Dukes, who had a four-game winning streak halted, committed 22 fouls on the day as the Hens converted 33 of 37 of their shots from the charity stripe to help boost UD to victory.
Delle Donne, who hit on a season-high 13 of her 15 free throw shots, also added nine rebounds and four blocks, while Carra drained a season-high nine of 10 free throws to go with a season-best eight rebounds as she surpassed her 100th three-pointer made, moving up to fifth in the all-time Blue Hen record book. Danielle Parker was the third Blue Hen to score in double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds.
JMU also saw three Dukes in double figures, led by Tarik Hislop, who scored a team-high 17 points to go with a game-high five assists and five boards. Kirby Burkholder added 15 points and a team-high seven boards and Jasmine Gill contributed 10 points, four boards, and two steals for the Dukes. James Madison, which entered the game leading the CAA defensively with JMU opponents shooting just 34.3 percent from the field, held Delaware to a season-low 34.5 percent from the floor in the first half as the Dukes took a 38-33 advantage at halftime.
“We talked a lot at halftime about being more composed," said head coach Tina Martin, who notched her 141st CAA victory. "Offensively, we made a lot of mistakes early on that led to a lot of turnovers, which is something that hasn’t happened to us a lot. The start of the second half got better, but then went through another lull. The two keys to this game were that we needed to take care of the ball better on the offensive end and hold our own on the boards, which we did. We definitely got better tonight. When it was only a four-point game with seven minutes left, I felt a sense of confidence and stayed calm as we found a renewed determination. This team is showing a lot of maturity and continues to improve.”
The Blue Hens scored the first points of the game on free throws by Carra but quickly fell behind as the Dukes went on a 7-1 run to take an early 7-3 lead. Delaware battled back as the Hens scored nine straight points, including six straight from Delle Donne, to give the Hens a 14-7 advantage at the 10:49 mark.
Parker scored the next four points for the Hens to start of an 8-2 run that extended Delaware’s lead to 22-13, but multiple turnovers and missed shots landed the Hens down during a 10-0 run for the Dukes highlighted by eight points from Burkholder that gave JMU a 23-22 lead.
A Lucas basket ended the JMU run with just over five minutes left in the first half as the Hens regained their lead. The score remained within just one point as both teams each took the lead once again before Carra’s 100th career three-pointer gave the Hens a 31-29 advantage with 2:39 left to play. However the Dukes rallied with a 9-0 run to close out the first half, marking just the third time this season the Hens fell behind going into the half.
Delaware wasted no time in putting points on the board at the start of the second half with a quick Parker layup to tighten the score at 38-25, but the Hens were not able to take the lead until another Parker basket with 5:28 left in regulation.
Carra hit the third UD field goal of the second half with another three-ball at the 12:28 mark to bring the Hens within four points before venturing into a 3:25 scoring drought that put the Hens down by six.
Delle Donne utilized an old-fashioned three-point play to end the Delaware drought and put the Hens back within four points at 58-54. A Parker layup at 5:28 gave Delaware its first lead since 1:43 of the first half when they led 33-32 as the Hens took the lead throughout the remainder of the game.
The Hens scored six straight free throw points as they held JMU scoreless for the final 2:18 of the game to defeat the Dukes 72-65.
Delaware looks to remain unbeaten in CAA action as the Hens wrap up a two-game road stretch in a rematch with UNCW on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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