Delaware Thrives in Delle Donne's Return, Knocks Off Providence 64-46 Behind All-American's 22 Points
November 20, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
That had to be the cry for the University of Delaware women's basketball team and its fans Tuesday night as All-American and National Player of the Year candidate Elena Delle Donne (at right) made her long-awaited season debut and led the Blue Hens to a decisive 64-46 non-league victory over Providence at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The 6-5 Delle Donne, who led the nation in scoring last season with 28.1 points per game, scored a game-high 22 points and pulled eight rebounds in her first game back after missing the first three games while battling the effects of Lyme Disease.
"Obviously, it’s great to have Elena back in the lineup," said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, whose squad won at home for the 34th time in the last 43 games over four seasons. "Things run just a little bit more smoothly with her in there. I was pleased with how we played and it was great to get the win."
Delle Donne had plenty of help as senior forward Danielle Parker (at left) recorded her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds while senior guard Lauren Carra chipped in with 10 points and dished out six assists as the Blue Hens (2-2) snapped a two-game losing streak and knocked off the Friars for the second straight season.
Providence (1-3) lost its second straight game despite 16 points from guard Tori Rule, 13 points and nine rebounds from forward Brianna Edwards, and 10 rebounds off the bench for Alexis Harris.
Delaware, which dropped out of the Top 25 rankings this week for the first time since early last season, is coming off its finest season in school history as the Hens went 31-2, captured the Colonial Athletic Association title with an undefeated record, and won a first round game in the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
Delle Donne shook off some early rust Tuesday night and scored 15 of her points in the first half after missing her first three shots of the game. She finished the night hitting 9 of 20 shots from the field and 1 of 4 from the three-point line while adding two assists and a blocked shot in 27 minutes of action. She surpassed the 20-point mark for the 73rd time in her 85-game career with the Blue Hens.
The Hens shot an impressive 51.4 percent from the field in the first half (18 of 35) in jumping out to a 41-25 lead at the break and committed just 10 turnovers the entire night, a far cry from the 21 they gave up in their previous outing, a 51-47 loss at Duquesne Nov. 14 in the Pre-Season WNIT consolation round.
The Friars committed 17 turnovers for the game and shot just 30.4 percent from the field (17 of 56), including 7 of 27 shooting in the second half, and 2 of 10 shooting from beyond the three-point line. Leading scorer Symone Roberts, who entered the game averaging 14.3 points per game, was held to just two points as she went 0 for 9 from the field.
Providence led for most of the first six minutes of the game before Delaware senior guard Kayla Miller hit consecutive running layups, the second with 11:29 left in the stanza that put the Hens up for good at 14-13. Delle Donne then fueled a 10-0 run with seven points of her own, including her only three-pointer of the night, as the Hens took a 31-17 lead.
The Friars, coming off a 13-17 overall record a year ago in the rugged Big East Conference, trailed by 16 at the half and went behind by 23 points six minutes into the second half as a Delle Donne jumper pushed the UD margin to 51-28.
Providence continued to battle and cut the deficit to 15 points at 59-44 on a three-pointer by Rule with 5:34 remaining, but Delaware freshman Courtni Green answered with a three-pointer 15 seconds later and each team managed just one field goal the rest of the way.
Delaware will take a week off and return to action Nov. 28 to host St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center. The Bonnies advanced all the way to the NCAA Sweet 16 a year ago.