Defense Gets the Job Done as #11/10 Blue Hens Open Season with 63-31 Win over Sam Houston State in First Round of WNIT
November 9, 2012
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
With the Blue Hen offense struggling, in part due to the absence of All-American Elena Delle Donne, the defense took over as No. 11/10 ranked Delaware rolled to a surprisingly easy 63-31 victory over Sam Houston State in the opening round of the Pre-Season Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Hens (1-0) held the Bearkats to just 11 total field goals and 21.6 percent shooting from the field and forced 21 turnovers to post the victory. The 31 points was the lowest amount allowed by the Blue Hens since defeating Towson 66-28 on Feb. 7, 2002.
The win vaults Delaware into the second round of the tournament Sunday where the Hens will host Georgetown at 2 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center. Georgetown opened its season with a 90-63 win over Sacred Heart Friday night.
Delaware, which is now 16-1 with nine straight wins in home openers under Martin, will put its 15-game home win streak on the line against the Hoyas.
"The kids did a great job defensively tonight," said Martin, who led the Blue Hens to their best season in school history a year ago when Delaware went 31-2, captured the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title with an undefeated slate, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. "I knew that there would be some nerves and the first 10 minutes were not pretty, but after that, we settled down and got into a groove. The boards were big for us and we knew that Sam Houston State could rebound the ball. Those last 30 minutes were about defense and I thought we did well."
Senior guard Trumae Lucas (at left) led the Hens with a game-high 14 points while senior guard Jacquetta May (at right) came off the bench to record her first career double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.
Senior guard Lauren Carra added 12 points and senior forward Danielle Parker contributed nine points and 12 rebounds and led a dominating 51-38 Delaware advantage on the boards.
The Blue Hens played without Delle Donne, a consensus All-American and national Player of the Year candidate who led the nation in scoring a year ago with 28.1 points per game. The 6-5 senior is battling the effects of Lyme Disease and her availability is listed as day-to-day.
Sam Houston State, which went 18-12 a year ago and advanced to the WNIT Post-Season Tournament, got a team-high 16 points from Britni Martin. Sequeena Thomas, the nation's top returning rebounder (12.6 rpg) pulled a team-high 12 rebounds but was limited to just two points on 1 of 10 shooting from the field.
The Bearkats hit just 11 of of 51 shots for the game and were just 1 of 13 from beyond the three-point line. In the second half, SHSU connected on 5 of 28 shots (17.9 percent) from the field.
Delaware shot just 24.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes (9 of 37) but settled down in the second half when the Hens went 13 of 29 from the field and outscored the Bearkats 37-15.
Both teams struggled mightily in the opening half as neither had reached double figures by the midway point of the stanza. Delaware misfired on its first 10 shots from the field and fell behind 11-6 with 9:03 left in the half.
But Delaware settled down and went on a 12-0 run, thanks to seven points from May, to take a 17-11 lead and never trailed again. The Hens took a 26-16 lead into intermission and then outscored the Bearkats 11-2 over the first five minutes of the second half to take control at 37-18. Sam Houston State never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way.