Biggest Defensive Effort in 40 Years Highlights Delaware's 62-27 Win over Mason in CAA Opener
January 10, 2013
Photos Courtesy of Mark Jordan and Ed Davis (Leon)
• Boxscore (HTML) / PDF
NEWARK, Del. --The University of Delaware women's basketball squad recorded its best defensive effort in 40 years Thursday night as the Blue Hens shut down George Mason for a 62-27 victory in its Colonial Athletic Association opener at the Bob Carpenter Center.
All-American Elena Delle Donne (at right) led the offense with a game-high 19 points but the defense was the star of the night as the Blue Hens held Mason to 17 percent shooting from the field, forced 13 turnovers, and controlled the boards by a 47-27 margin.
The 27 points were the lowest allowed by a Delaware team since the Blue Hens defeated Catonsville (Md.) Community College 71-9 on Feb. 27, 1973.
The Blue Hens (10-3, 1-0 CAA), the defending CAA champions, won their fifth straight game and extended their regular season league victory streak to 20 straight games. Delaware also won its 12th straight CAA regular season home contest.
George Mason (5-8, 0-2 CAA), which lost its third straight game, managed just eight field goals the entire night, a mark that was reached by Delle Donne by herself two minutes into the second half.
The Patriots went just 8 for 48 from the field for the game ( 5 for 31 in the first half and 3 for 17 in the second half) and did not have any player surpass seven points or five rebounds for the game. Talisha Watts and Joyous Tharrington led the Patriots with six points each.
"This is a veteran group and they understand our defensive concepts now,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, who led the Blue Hens to a 31-2 record and the CAA title in 2012. “I’m really proud of the fact that they are looking at opponents now and taking a great deal of pride in stopping people. They have a total understanding of how to defend teams right now and we're playing smart defense. It was really good for the kids to just get home and get this crowd behind us too. Our kids are really enjoying playing here. The fans have been tremendous.
“You have to make a statement game, everybody’s looking to see what Delaware is doing in their first conference game,” continued Martin. “We are the defending champions and we are not going to shy away from that. But this group has goals. I think a lot of people are talking about having a target on our backs, but it’s more about what we want. We have our own goals. Forget about all the talk about everyone else coming after us, we as the champions are coming after everybody else because we’d like to get another championship.”
Delle Donne scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half as the Hens built an insurmountable 35-12 lead. She surpassed the 2,400 career point mark and finished the night hitting on 8 of 12 shots from the field to go with seven rebounds.
“I felt really fresh today,” said Delle Donne, whose team was playing for the first time since Jan. 2. “And then I didn’t even play that much, which is a great thing because we have two big games coming up in the next few days. It’s good to be able to rest our legs. It’s like starting an entire new season. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done, it’s a fresh start, now we’re 1-0 and we gotta keep moving. I think it’s a great statement-maker (winning by so much). I think last year we would let teams come back in after having a big first half. That was something coach talked to us about at halftime. We’re a veteran team and we better shut the door.”
Jaquetta May added nine points and seven rebounds for the Blue Hens while Danielle Parker chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds, Courtni Green (above left) added eight points, and Stephanie Leon (at right) had seven rebounds. In all, 10 different UD players scored and point and 12 different players pulled at least one rebound.
Delaware had entered the game ranked No. 9 among all NCAA Division I women's teams in three-point field goal percentage (23.6 percent), No. 10 in field goal percentage defense (32.5 percent), and No. 20 in scoring defense (51.4 points per game).
The Hens jumped on the Patriots early. After George Mason’s Amber Easter hit a three-pointer four minutes into the game to cut the UD lead to 4-3, Delaware reeled off 13 straight points and held Mason scoreless for just over seven minutes. The Hens then used another 7-0 run to go up 24-5 and took a 35-12 advantage into the break.
It was more of the same for Delaware in the second half as the Hens outscored Mason 12-3 over the first seven minutes of the second stanza to build the lead to 32 points at 47-15 with 13:16 left. The Patriots never got closer than 26 points the rest of the way.
Delaware will now prepare for a grueling week in which the Hens will travel to Norfolk, Va. for a Sunday game at Old Dominion, to Boston for a Tuesday game at Northeastern, and return home to host Towson on Sunday.
Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archives