Delaware Avoids Quarterfinal Scare as #15 Blue Hens Down UNCW 51-43 to Advance to CAA Semifinals Saturday vs. Hofstra
March 15, 2013
Photos Courtesy of the Colonial Athletic Association
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. -- The 15th-ranked University of Delaware women’s basketball squad survived a major scare Friday afternoon during the quarterfinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament at The Show Place Arena as the Blue Hens needed a second-half comeback to knock off No. 9 seed UNCW, 51-43, and advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
Trailing 20-15 at the half and still down 30-28 with 11:45 to play, All-American senior Elena Delle Donne (at right) and senior guard Trumae Lucas (bottom left) got the Hens back on track by keying an 8-0 run that gave Delaware the lead for good on the way to the eight-point victory.
The win advances Delaware to the CAA Tournament semifinals where they will take on No. 5 seed Hofstra Saturday at 2 p.m. Hofstra (15-16) posted a 57-52 quarterfinal win over No. 4 seed Northeastern Friday afternoon.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game, but this time of year, it’s all about survive and advance. That’s why they call it MarchMadness,” remarked Delaware head coach Tina Martin. “I have to give UNCW credit, they had nothing to lose. They’ve had a tough season, but have caught fire here at the end and played very well today.”
The Blue Hens (28-3) extended their school-record winning streak to 23 straight games and defeated their 40th straight CAA opponent.
Delle Donne, the nation’s No. 2 leading scorer and a three-time CAA Player of the Year, led Delaware with 21 points and 11 rebounds while senior Lauren Carra added 10 points and seven rebounds. Classmate Danielle Parker chipped in eight points and 11 boards for Delaware.
UNCW (5-26), which defeated No. 8 seed George Mason, 60-48, in Thursday’s opening round, placed three starters in double figures as Kelva Atkins scored a team-high 13 points, Tawanna Lee added 12 points and Jessica Freeman contributed 10 points. Karneshia Garrett led the Seahawks with 12 rebounds. For the second straight day, UNCW used only five players the entire game.
“In the second half, I don’t think it was about wearing them down,” stated Delle Donne. “I think we were just playing a lot smarter offensively. We were crashing the offensive glass, which was crucial because our shots weren’t falling.”
Delaware jumped out to an early 7-2 lead on a short jumper by Delle Donne just five minutes in the opening half, but the Hens failed to convert a field goal over the next 12-plus minutes. UNCW took advantage as Freeman and Dana Brown knocked down three-pointers to give the Seahawks a 15-9 advantage with 5:56 remaining the first.
UD broke the scoring drought by turning back-to-back steals into layups and Carra capped a 6-0 run over a 58-second span with another layup, tying the game at 15-15 before UNCW finished the half with five straight points.
The Hens gained their first advantage of the second half, 23-22, on a Delle Donne elbow jumper with 14:47 remaining. The two teams traded baskets over the next couple of minutes, with UNCW taking its final lead of the game on a Lee three-pointer with 11:45 left.
Delle Donne took over from there, scoring nine points during the deciding run that was capped by a turnaround jumper that made it 43-34 with 5:08 remaining.
After making just 5-of-23 field goals (21.7 percent) in the first 20 minutes, Delaware shot 52 percent in the second half and finished at 37.5 percent for the game.
“I don’t think [the arena] had anything to do with it,” Carra commented. “It’s a neutral court. We were here yesterday and shot pretty well on both ends. We’ve played here the last three years and should be use to it, but the first half was just a little bit of nerves.”
Delaware will meet No. 5 seed Hofstra in Saturday’s semifinals with a 2 p.m. tip.Back To Women's Basketball Home Women's Basketball Story Archives