No. 12 Blue Hens Survive Scare, 62-53
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Junior forward Elena Delle Donne paced No. 12 Delaware with 29 points and 14 rebounds as the Blue Hens turned back upset-minded UNCW, 62-53, in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action Thursday at Trask Coliseum.
Delaware continued its torrid run through its schedule, improving to 19-1 on the year and 10-0 in the CAA. UNCW had its five game winning streak snapped and fell to 13-7 overall, 6-4 in league play.
Delle Donne, the nation's leading scorer at 28.4 points per game, went 11-of-22 from the floor while playing all 40 minutes for the Blue Hens. Junior forward Danielle Parker was the only other Delaware player in double figures with 12 markers.
Delaware only led 27-26 at the half, but began the second stanza with an 8-2 run, boosting their lead to seven points, 35-28, when sophomore guard Akeema Richards made a layup at the 16:22 mark.
The Seahawks narrowed the gap to four points on four occasions later in the frame, including off a layup from junior forward Chelsea McGowen with 2:20 remaining.
But the Blue Hens responded to McGowen's bucket with a 6-0 run, boosting their lead to its largest point, 61-51, off two free throws by Delle Donne with 32 seconds left to seal the victory.
In the first half, despite seven early points from Delle Donne, UNCW's defense forced five turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the contest, allowing the Seahawks to cling to a 14-13 advantage with 9:56 remaining in the stanza.
UNCW then put together a quick 6-0 rally capped by a layup from McGowen off a nifty over-the-shoulder pass from sophomore guard Alisha Andrews to give the Seahawks the 20-13 lead at the 7:18 mark.
Delaware responded with a 10-0 spurt completed by a Delle Donne trey with 3:57 remaining in the half, giving the Blue Hens the 23-20 lead. Delle Donne notched seven points in the run.
A three-pointer by junior guard Brittany Gamby broke UNCW out of its slump at the 3:37 mark to tie the game, 23-all. Both teams then combined for just three baskets down the stretch, with a layup by Blue Hen Parker with 19 seconds sending Delaware to the locker room up 27-26.
UD wound up shooting 41 percent, including 46.7 percent in the second half, but relied heavily on Delle Donne's presence. Her teammates managed only 36 percent from the floor on 14-of-39 shooting.
The Seahawks and Blue Hens both return to action on their respective home courts Sunday for 2 p.m. matinees. UNCW challenges William & Mary, while Delaware returns home to entertain VCU.
2 - Tawanna Lee
4 - Alisha Andrews
10 - Abria Trice
40 - Karneshia Garrett