Delle Donne's Big Game, Last Second Shot Leads Delaware to 60-59 Victory over St. John's
January 2, 2013
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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QUEENS, N.Y. – Elena Delle Donne played the hero role once again for the University of Delaware women's basketball team Wednesday night as the All-American scored 29 points and hit a jumper with under a second left to play in overtime to send the Hens to a thrilling 60-59 win over host St. John's at the Carnesecca Arena.
Delle Donne (at right), who hit two free throws with 20 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, also pulled a game-high 16 rebounds and converted all 13 of her free throw attempts to lead Delaware (9-3) to its fourth straight victory and third in five days.
“Thankfully we got the win because this has been a long stretch, three games in five days against three very good teams,” commented Delaware head coach Tina Martin. “This should give our kids a lot of confidence. We’re not a finished product yet offensively, but we’re getting there. Defensively it has to tell you something when we come into other people’s places and shut them down. I’m really proud of the team. Everyone’s been sick, but they all showed a lot of heart.”
Jaquetta May added nine points and nine rebounds for Delaware while Danielle Parker pulled down 13 rebounds and Lauren Carra chipped in with eight points.
The Hens led for the majority of the overtime period and were up by as much as five with just over three minutes remaining. The Red Storm took control over the final minutes, going on a 6-0 run, all off of free throws to go up, 59-58 with 28 seconds left in the game.
With six seconds on the clock, Delaware took control of a jump ball and got the ball into Delle Donne’s hands, who banked an off-balance jumper off the glass with 0.7 seconds remaining.
“The play broke down a little bit as there was supposed to be a screen to get me the ball that didn’t happen,” Delle Donne remarked. “I realized when there was less than six seconds left, I had to get the ball. I saw an opening in the lane to the left and I had to take it. I knew the backboard was the best way to go because it’s a high percentage shot for me. I saw the defender trying to take the charge, so I immediately pulled back and took the jump shot over her.”
The overtime contest was the first for the Hens since Feb. 13, 2011 when Delaware defeated William and Mary, 70-66.
“This was definitely the most emotional and draining game that I’ve ever played in,” Blue Hen senior Jaquetta May stated. “It’s good to be on the winning side.”
Fatigue definitely showed in the Hens in the first half as St. John’s took their largest lead of the game at 14-3 at the 13:39 mark, but Delaware slowly battled back and went on a 10-0 run to take a 20-18 advantage with just over seven minutes left in the first. The Blue Hens would never look back in the first as they took a 27-24 lead going into halftime.
The two teams went back and forth in the second half and exchanged the lead eight times with nine score ties.
With 7:12 left on the clock, Delle Donne drained a three-pointer from the right corner off of a pass from Trumae Lucas and was fouled in the act of shooting. She knocked down the free throw for a four-point play to give Delaware a 45-42 lead.
Less than two minutes later, the forward drained a three at the top of the key off of an inbounds’ play to go up by four at 48-44 with 5:43 left in the game.
In the final two minutes, St. John’s took a 51-49 lead before Delle Donne sank two free throws to send the game into overtime.
“I definitely think the statement in this win is that we are veterans and we don’t want to lose,” Delle Donne said. “We’ve been through games like this before and lost when we were younger and we don’t want to go through that again. We have a lot of trust in each other on the court. We’re older and we know what we have to do to get the win.”
St. John's (6-6) had three players scored in double figures led by Aliyyah Handford with 16 points. Shenneika Smith added 14 points while Nadirah McKenith had 12 points and eight rebounds and Briana Brown contributed 11 points and eight boards.
Delaware returns to the Bob Carpenter Center to open Colonial Athletic Association play on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.
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