Blue Hens Picked To Defend League Title at CAA Media Day; Elena Delle Donne Named CAA Preseason Player of the Year
ARLINGTON, Va. -- After a record-setting season in which the Blue Hens went undefeated in league play and claimed the conference tournament title, it was no surprise that the University of Delaware women’s basketball team was picked to reclaim its crown as the CAA Preseason Poll was announced Tuesday at CAA Basketball Media Day at Champps-Pentagon Row restaurant.
Additionally, Blue Hen senior All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) was named the CAA Preseason Player of the Year after earning league Player of the Year honors last spring, while fellow senior Lauren Carra was selected to the CAA Preseason Second Team.
Delaware, which finished last season with a 31-2 record, climbed as high as seventh in the national rankings and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round following its first postseason win in school history, returns all five starters for its highly-anticipated 2012-13 season. The Blue Hens were followed in the poll, which was voted on by the league’s head coaches, by James Madison, Hofstra, Drexel, Old Dominion and Northeastern. George Mason and UNCW tied for seventh in the poll, Towson and William & Mary tied for ninth, and Georgia State was picked 11th.
Delle Donne, who led the nation in scoring last season by averaging 28.1 points per game, was a consensus first team All-American by the Associated Press, WBCA, USWBA, Naismith Award, and John Wooden Award. She earned CAA Player of the Year honors for the second time in three seasons during the 2011-12 campaign, and was named to the WBCA Preseason Wade Watch List last month. Delle Donne, who became only the 15th player in Division I women’s basketball history to eclipse the 900-point mark for a season, also led the Blue Hens with 10.3 rebounds per game, 86 blocked shots, 39 steals, and 52 three-pointers made. Already the Delaware career scoring leader, she enters her senior season ranked third in CAA history with 2,258 career points.
Delle Donne was joined on the CAA Preseason First Team by Shante Evans of Hofstra, Tarik Hislop of James Madison, Deanna Kerkhof of Northeastern, and Hollie Mershon of Drexel.
Carra also earned preseason all-conference honors after being named to the third team All-CAA for the second consecutive year last spring. She ranked second on the Blue Hens with 10.2 points per game and 51 three-pointers made, while her 78.8 free throw percentage was good for fifth in the league. Carra, who enters her senior year ranked fourth in Delaware history with 128 three-pointers made, reached double figures in 19 games a year ago, including a season-high 22 points during a win at James Madison.
Also named to the CAA Preseason Second Team were Kirby Burkholder of James Madison, Emily Correal of William & Mary, Amber Easter of George Mason, and Nikki Newman of James Madison. Ashley Betz-White of Old Dominion, Candace Bond of Hofstra, Karneshia Garrett of UNCW, and Jewel Tunstull of Northeastern earned honorable mention accolades.
The CAA television schedule was also released at Media Day, as Comcast SportsNet will televise the Blue Hens’ home games against James Madison on February 24 and versus Drexel on March 3. Comcast SportsNet and The Comcast Network will also broadcast the CAA Tournament Semifinals on March 16, while CSN will show the championship game on March 17. Additionally, Delaware’s regular season contest at Rhode Island on December 5 will be broadcast over the internet at ESPN3.com
2012-13 CAA Women’s Basketball Predicted Order of Finish
2. James Madison
5. Old Dominion
T7. George Mason
T9. William & Mary
11. Georgia State
2012-13 CAA Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Teams
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware (Preseason Player of the Year)
Shante Evans, Hofstra
Tarik Hislop, James Madison
Deanna Kerkhof, Northeastern
Hollie Mershon, Drexel
Kirby Burkholder, James Madison
Lauren Carra, Delaware
Emily Correal, William & Mary
Amber Easter, George Mason
Nikki Newman, James Madison
Ashley Betz-White, Old Dominion
Candace Bond, Hofstra
Karneshia Garrett, UNCW
Jewel Tunstull, Northeastern