Delaware Takes Over Late, Gets Big Three-Pointers on Way to 65-56 Road Victory over CAA Rival Drexel
January 27, 2013
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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PHILADELPHIA – Big three-pointers by seniors Kayla Miller (at right) and Trumae Lucas down the stretch and six free throws in the final minute of play made the difference Sunday afternoon as the University of Delaware women's basketball squad stayed unbeaten in league play with a hard-fought 65-56 Colonial Athletic Association victory over rival Drexel before a packed house at the Daskalakis Center.
“Kids were tough when they needed to be and stepped up at the right times” commented Delaware head coach Tina Martin. “I’m very happy with the win in this tough environment. I think it’s great that Kayla’s been knocking down shots. She’s spent a lot of extra long hours in the gym shooting and has really committed herself to improving her shot. I don’t think people realize how bad her back injury was a couple years ago and she’s basically had to reconstruct her shot. She’s finally now starting to feel comfortable and it’s paying off for her and the team.”
Miller continued her inspired play as she recorded three career-highs with 11 points, seven assists, and three three-pointers.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Miller remarked. “Last year I didn’t have the strength and my form was really bad. I’m very blessed to have an amazing brother that’s been helping me before and after practices. He’s been filming everything and helping me break down every little bit. It’s been a long road, but it’s paying off and hopefully it continues to pay off. I’m feeling the best I ever have.
All-American Elena Delle Donne (bottom left) led all scorers with 24 points in addition to six rebounds and three blocks while Danielle Parker recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds as the Blue Hens (15-3, 6-0 CAA) took over sole possession of first place in the CAA with their 10th straight victory.
The Dragons kept the game close the entire way and the two teams exchanged the lead eight different times.
“I don’t think you can ever pull away from Drexel,” Martin stated. “They’re a great team and this is a difficult atmosphere to play in. In addition to Kayla, I thought Danielle really stepped up. She got on the boards in the second half and got some put-backs. And Elena is Elena, she’s a veryspecial player.”
With just under four minutes remaining in the game, Drexel’s Hollie Mershon put in a layup to pull the Dragons within two at 54-52. Sparked by a crucial three-pointer from Lucas from the top left corner, the Blue Hens went on an 8-0 run to lead, 62-52, with less than a minute left on the clock.
“I think this just goes to show the experience of our team,” Miller said. “When we were younger, we would have issues closing people out. The fact that we were able to go from a two-point lead and build upon it is great for this team. Every time we went into timeouts, Elena would encourage us to keep our heads up and stay confident to keep extending the lead.”
Delaware led or held a tie with Drexel for the first 10-plus minutes of the game. The Dragons would take their largest lead of the game at 19-16 coming off of a layup from Mershon with 6:52 remaining in the first half. The Blue Hens responded with an 8-0 run to go up, 24-19.
UD then jumpedout to a 33-28 halftime lead off of a trey from Miller and stayed in front the entire second half. Drexel got to within a single possession several times.
The Dragons cut the lead to 46-43 midway through the second half, but Miller responded with another three-pointer with 7:06 left to push the lead back to six. Drexel slowly threatened again, but theBlue Hens finished them in the end.
Mershon led Drexel (13-5; 6-1 CAA) with 17 points and seven assists. Nicki Jones and Rachel Pearson added nine points of their own.
The Blue Hens, who will be back in action right away with a 7 p.m. home date with Northeastern Tuesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center, also extended their three-year CAA regular season winning streak to 25 games.Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archives