NEWARK, DE - University of Delaware women's basketball senior guard
Lauren Carra provided the heroics for the Blue Hens Sunday afternoon as
she knocked down a running jumper off the glass from 10 feet out with
two seconds left to finish off a 59-58 comeback win over Princeton
before an enthusiastic crowd of 4,029 at the Bob Carpenter Center.
The Blue Hens (5-2), who won for the fourth straight game, came away
with the hard-fought victory in a battle between two of the top
mid-major teams in the country. Delaware, the defending Colonial
Athletic Association champion a year ago, went 31-2 last season with a
first round NCAA Tournament win and a top 10 national ranking.
Princeton (6-3), the two-time defending Ivy league champions, had a
three-game win streak snapped despite 15 points and nine rebounds from
senior All-American guard Niveen Rasheed, whose departure from the game
after picking up her fifth foul with 3:21 left helped ignite the
Carra, who played most of the second half with four fouls, was one of
three Blue Hens in double figures as both she and senior guard Jaquetta
May scored 15 points and fellow guard Akeema Richards added 13 points
and seven rebounds. Danielle Parker and Kelsey Buchanan each added seven
rebounds for the Hens.
"We drew up a play in the huddle," said Carra of the winning basket
which came right after Blue Hen timeout. "It was actually a play to go
man-to-man for Princeton on defense and they ended up coming out in the
zone, so the play kind of broke down there a bit. As a team, we really
showed maturity just staying with it and just finding a way to the
basket. They (Princeton) were working me, but that was huge for my
teammates to step in behind me."
Following the timeout with 16 seconds left, Carra got the ball at the
top of the key. She dribbled to her left, made a move inside, and
knocked down the short jumper off the glass for the winning points with
just two seconds remaining. Princeton had one last chance for the win
but Delaware's Kayla Miller intercepted the long inbounds pass from
Annie Tarakchian to end the game.
"Princeton is a really good basketball team and I'm really proud of our
kids," said Delaware head coach Tina Martin, whose team played without
All-American and 2012 national scoring leader Elene Delle Donne (Lyme
Disease) for the third straight game. "I told them we have to grind this
out, we have to try to keep this close. And the kids listened. The first
half we were a little shaky but we pulled things together. I just can't
say enough about the group as a whole. Lauren (Carra) has really stepped
up and the play at the end of the game was designed for her. It was a
very tough shot with the defender hanging on her. I think we've grown by
leaps and bounds, even over the past couple weeks."
The Blue Hens defeated Princeton for the second straight year and downed
the Tigers for the eighth time in the last 10 meetings.
Kristen Helmstetter added nine points and nine rebounds for Princeton
while Blake Dietrick and Alex Wheatley each chipped in with eight
points. The Tigers were undermined by 10 of 27 shooting from the field
(37 percent) and 10 turnovers in the second half. The Tigers hit just 3
of 18 shots from beyond the three-point arc for the game.
Delaware fought back from an eight-point deficit early in the second
half and trailed by five points at 58-53 after Rasheed hit a jumper with
3:21 left to play. But Rasheed fouled out with 1:49 left to play after
fouling Delaware's Kelsey Buchanan following her own missed shot.
Buchanan calmly knocked down both shots from the charity stripe to cut
the margin to 58-55. The Hens got the ball back after a missed free
throw by Kate Miller with 1:12 left, setting up a layup by Carra with 54
seconds remaining that narrowed the Tiger lead to 58-57.
The Hens got the ball back again when Buchanan made another big play,
stepping in front of a pass by Princeton's Miller on the left block with
just 24 seconds left to set the stage for the winning possession.
Delaware had a tough start as the Hens shot just 9 of 33 from the field
in the first half and went down by as many as 10 points before cutting
the Princeton lead to 32-25 at halftime. The Hens burst out of the gates
in the second half to get back into the game, outscoring the Tigers 17-9
over the first five minutes to take their first lead since early in the
game at 41-40 on a Carra three-pointer with 14:57 left.
The Hens held at least a share of the lead for the next 10 minutes
before consecutive field goals by Princeton's Wheatley gave the Tigers a
54-52 lead with 5:05 remaining. Rasheed then sandwiched two jumpers
around a free throw by May to give Princeton the 58-53 lead with 3:21
left. Delaware then took over from there to complete the comeback.
Delaware will take the next 11 days off for exams before returning to
action on Dec. 20 when the Hens host No. 9 ranked Maryland at 7 p.m. at
the BCC. The Hens suffered their only regular season loss to the
Terrapins last season when Maryland captured an 85-76 victory on Dec. 29
in College Park, Md.
Kate Miller, 2-5 0-1 5, Helmstetter, 4-9 1-3 9, Bowen, 2-2 2-2 6,
Dietrick, 3-10 1-2 8, Rasheed, 6-12 2-4 15, Berntsen, 0-0 0-0 0,
Tarakchian, 0-3 2-2 2, Wheatley, 4-4 0-0 8, Smith, 2-8 1-1 5, M. Miller,
0-2 0-0 0, Totals, 23-55 9-15 58.
Parker, 2-4 0-0 4, May, 6-11 3-6 15, Kayla Miller, 1-3 0-0 2, Richards,
5-16 3-4 13, Carra, 5-16 4-4 15, Green, 1-3 2-2 5, Buchanan, 1-4 3-4 5,
Lucas, 0-6 0-0 0, Leon, 0-0 0-0 0, Totals, 21-63 15-20 59.
Halftime: Princeton 32, Delaware 25; Three-Point Field Goals: P – 3-18
(K. Miller 1-3, Dietrick 1-6, Rasheed 1-3, Helmstetter 0-3, Tarakchian
0-1, Smith 0-1, M. Miller 0-1), D – 2-10 (Carra 1-5, Green 1-3, Miller
0-1, Lucas 0-1); Rebounds: P – 43 (Helmstetter, Rasheed 9), D – 38
(Parker, Richards, Buchanan 7); Assists: P – 11 (Dietrick, Smith 4), D –
8 (Miller, Carra 3); Fouled Out: Rasheed; Total Fouls: P – 16, D – 13;