Top-seeded and 7th-ranked Blue Hens Cruise into CAA Tournament Semifinals With 74-54 Victory over Old Dominion
Photos Courtesy of Chris Permar
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – Junior All-American Elena Delle Donne posted a double-double and the seventh-ranked University of Delaware women's basketball team put four players in double figures as the Blue Hens defeated eighth-seed Old Dominion, 74-54, in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Quarterfinals Friday afternoon at The Show Place Arena.
Delle Donne (below left) posted her 14th double-double of the season with game-highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a team-high five assists for the top-seeded Blue Hens, who will face fifth-seeded UNCW in Saturday's semifinals at 12 noon. UNCW advanced with a 94-87 upset win over No. 5 Hofstra.
Delaware improved to 28-1 with the win and continued to build on its school record for wins in a season. Old Dominion, which owns 17 CAA titles all-time, ended its season with a record of 11-21. The Blue Hens also knocked Old Dominion out of the CAA Tournament in the quarterfinal round last year.
Trumae Lucas (top right) contributed 14 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the field to reach double figures for the sixth time this season, while Lauren Carra reached her 17th double-figure effort with 12 points on the day. Senior Jocelyn Bailey added a season-high 12 points as she converted a career-high tying six field goals in a perfect 6 of 6 shooting effort.
The win was the 18th straight for Delaware, breaking the school record of 17 set by the 2000-01 and 2004-05 squads. The Blue Hens shot 50.8 percent from the field (30 of 59), shooting over 50 percent for the third consecutive game, while holding the Monarchs to just 33.9 percent from the floor.
“It was a good first game and we’re ready to move on,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, who was named CAA Coach of the Year at the conference banquet Wednesday night. “We played well considering the long layoff, especially in the second half. Defensively, we really clamped down and showed how we’ve played solid defense all year. It was just good to get over that anxiousness of waiting to play. After a great team effort, hopefully we’re here for the long haul.”
The Blue Hens, the first CAA team since Old Dominion in 2001-02 to go through the league schedule undefeated at 18-0, held a 39-29 rebounding advantage and committed just eight turnovers to ODU’s 14 on the day.
Leading the way for the Monarchs was Jackie Cook with 14 points, followed by Myeisha Hall with 14 and JoNiqua Guilford with eight. Old Dominion, which has made appearances in 18 of the last 20 tournament finals, went 6 of 16 for 37.5 percent from deep, compared to just 3 of 12 (25 percent) by the Blue Hens.
Guilford got things started with a jumper to give Old Dominion the first lead of the game, but Carra responded with a three-pointer to give the Hens the lead for the rest of the way.
Struggling to hold on to the ball, ODU committed five turnovers within the first five minutes, which the Hens converted into 11 points with the help of a 6-0 run to make it 11-4 with 16:23 to go.
The Monarchs reduced their scoring deficit to nine points with 7:59 to play following an old-fashioned three-point play by Hall and free throw shot by Cook, but would remain scoreless over the next four minutes as Delle Donne knocked down two baskets to keep the Hens rolling.
Six different Delaware players scored within the first 13 minutes as Martin went 10 deep on the bench in the first half.
The Hens led by as much as 14 after another three-pointer by Carra (at right), but ODU knocked down a three by Hall to start off a 7-0 run to help bring the Monarchs within 10 points to close out the first half.
Lucas, who converted a career-high seven field goals on the day, started off the second half with back-to-back baskets for the Hens. Delaware pushed its lead to 15 early in the half, but ODU cut it to 11 using a 6-1 run. That was as close as ODU would get for the rest of the day. A 10-0 Delaware run pushed the biggest lead of the game to 24 points to make the score 68-45 with 4:56 to play.
The Monarchs turned up the heat beyond the arc over the final minutes of the game, converting three straight three-pointers from Cook, Guilford, and Hall, but it would not be enough.
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