No. 18 Delaware Rallies in Second Half, Holds Off JMU for 61-60 Victory and 19th Straight Win
February 24, 2013
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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NEWARK, Del. -- The 18th ranked University of Delaware women's basketball team found itself in an unfamiliar situation Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center, but the winning ways continued for the Blue Hens.
Trailing in the second for the first time in nearly a month, the Blue Hens took advantage of some cold shooting by James Madison and held on for a thrilling 61-60 Colonial Athletic Association victory before a pink-clad, record-setting crowd.
All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) led the Hens once again as she scored 19 of her game-high 28 points in the second half and a season-high six blocks and Danielle Parker added eight points and 11 rebounds as the Blue Hens (24-3, 15-0 CAA) posted their 19th straight win and extended their three-year CAA regular season winning streak to 34 games.
Delle Donne’s six blocks gave her 255 for her career, tying the all-time CAA mark set by William & Mary’s Tiffany Benson in 2006-10.
Delaware’s Kayla Miller (at left) dished out four assists and hit a big three-pointer late in the game and Jaquetta May (bottom right) came off the bench to give the Hens 19 quality minutes as she scored six points on 3 of 4 shooting from the field and pulled three rebounds.
“We're very fortunate,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin when asked about the hard-fought win. “Relieved? Absolutely, yes. I’m happy we won, obviously we're the top two teams in the league. Getting the win is something that I'm happy about, but how we went about things wasn't right. We didn't make good decisions. JMU just destroyed the glass today and they outquicked us to the ball today.”
The game was billed as the annual Dare to be Strong Women's Health Awareness Pink Game and an enthusiastic crowd of 5,098 fans came out to fill the BCC, breaking the building record for a women’s game of 5,089 set back on Dec. 20 vs. the University of Maryland.
James Madison (18-9, 13-3 CAA), whose only two losses over the last 13 outings have been to the Blue Hens, had a three-game win streak and a seven-game road winning skein snapped. Delaware swept the season series from James Madison after also downing the Dukes 71-64 back on Feb. 10 in Harrisonburg, Va. and broke a 12-12 in the all-time series record.
Four of the five Duke starters reached double figures as Tarik Hislop hit for a team-high 17 points, Kirby Burkholder scored 16 points and pulled 14 rebounds, Toia Giggetts added 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Precious Hall chipped in with 10 points.
“Generally, when you get a JMU win you're thrilled, but our team is a little different,” said Delle Donne. “We're not happy with the way we played. We know that we can't get away with that and we won't get wins in the future if we play that way. We have to step it up, especially as we get into the final stretch of the season.”
Down six points early in the second half and still trailing 41-40 with 13:39 left to play, the Blue Hens took the lead for good with eight straight points to go up 48-43 and held on the rest of the way. The Hens trailed in the second half for the first time since Jan. 2 - a span of 15 games - when St. John’s held a slim second half advantage during Delaware’s 60-59 overtime win.
Delle Donne, who drained 11 of 12 free throws, hit one of two shots from the line with 15 seconds left to clinch the win. JMU's Hall stole the ball and scored with one second left but Delaware inbounded the ball and ran out the clock to post the victory.
James Madison shot just 31.2 percent from the field for the game (24 of 77) and managed just 4 three-pointers in 23 attempts. The Dukes were just 12 of 44 from the field in the second half and missed 16 straight shots from the field.
But James Madison was able to dominate the boards, outrebounding Delaware by a wide 55-35 margin and pulling an incredible 30 offensive rebounds. The 55 rebounds was the most against Delaware since then No. 3 ranked Maryland pulled 57 in a 91-43 victory on Nov. 13, 2007.
The Blue Hens, who trailed 29-25 at the break, bounced back from a cold-shooting first half (8 of 28) to hit 11 of 23 (.478) second half shots and committed just four turnovers in the second half on the way to overtaking the Dukes.
The first half featured five ties and six lead changes before JMU went on a late 9-0 run to take a 29-21 lead and eventually led 29-25 at the break. James Madison maintained that lead during the early going of the second half before two free throws by Delle Donne with 14:52 left to play knotted the score at 36-26.
The score was tied two more times over the next minute before the Hens grabbed the lead for good when Akeema Richards hit two free throws, Delle Donne converted a conventional three-point play, and Trumae Lucas turned a steal into a layup to cap a 7-0 run and give Delaware a 46-41 lead with 12 minutes left.
Hislop hit a three-pointer with 8:29 left to cut the Delaware lead to 53-51, but the Dukes could not gain any ground as they went through a tortuous stretch of just over six minutes where they missed 16 straight shots from the field. However, the Dukes pulled 11 offensive rebounds during the stretch.
Hislop finally ended the drought with a jumper with 2:11 left to cut the margin to two again at 55-53, but Delaware’s Miller answered with her only basket of the game, a three-pointer from the left wing that pushed the lead back to five at 58-53. Delle Donne and Burkholder traded two free throws each before the Dukes once again cut the lead to two on a Hislop three-pointer with 25 seconds left.
Delle Donne then hit one of two free throws with 15 seconds left to put the Hens up by three and the Hens survived the frantic final seconds to preserve the win.
Delaware will return to action this Thursday, Feb. 28 when they head to Long Island to take on Hofstra at 7 p.m.
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