NEWARK, DE - Elena Delle Donne and Lauren Carra combined to score 49
of their team's 62 points and Carra made several big plays in the
crucial final minutes as the No. 18 ranked University of Delaware
women's basketball team held off rival Drexel for a 62-57 Colonial
Athletic Association victory before a sold-out crowd Sunday at the Bob
Delle Donne, a two-time All-American and the nation's No. 2 leading
scorer at 25.5 points per game, shook off a slow start and finished with
28 points and 10 rebounds while Carra contributed a season-high 21
points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
Carra drained a three-pointer off a feed from Delle Donne with 1:36 left
to break a 54-54 tie and then knocked down three free throws in the
final 53 seconds to make a winner of the Blue Hens. Trumae Lucas added
six points off the bench for Delaware while Danielle Parker pulled down
eight rebounds, upping her career total to 999.
Delaware (26-3, 17-0 CAA), which has already clinched its second
straight CAA regular season title, tied the school record set last
season by winning its 21st straight game and extended its three-year
conference regular season win streak to 36 straight, the second longest
current streak in the nation behind only top-ranked Baylor. The 21
straight wins is also the third longest active win streak in NCAA
The game was played before a sellout crowd of 5,094, the second largest
home crowd for a UD women's basketball game in school history and the
fourth sellout this season.
"We came out in the second half and followed the game plan," said
Delaware head coach Tina Martin. "We built a 12-point lead and then they
started running the high-ball screen. We didn't defend it as well as we
are capable of defending it and that got them right back in the game.
Give Drexel all the credit in the world, they can shoot the basketball.
We've had so many overtime games and so many games that are this close
with Drexel. It's rivalry and the kids executed when we needed to and
got stops when we needed to. Bottom line is that we have one more game
to shut the door on the regular season and the conference and what these
kids have worked so hard to accomplish over these last two years. These
kids have played their hearts out."
"It all came down to our composure today," said Carra, who reached the
20-point mark for the third time this season. "We were able to stay
together. There are never any doubts with this group, we've been through
so much since our freshman year."
Delaware will close out the regular season this Wednesday, March 6, when
the Blue Hens host Georgia State. The Blue Hens will honors their seven
seniors - including Delle Donne, Carra, Lucas, and Parker - prior to the
Drexel (20-8, 13-4 CAA), which had a four-game win streak snapped, got a
huge effort from senior guard Hollie Mershon, who scored 26 points,
pulled down five rebounds, and dished out six assists. She scored half
of the Dragons' 22 field goals and assisted on 6 of the other 11. Rachel
Pearson came off the bench to add nine points for Drexel while Fiona
Flanagan added eight points.
Delaware, which also won its seventh straight home game, swept the
season series from Drexel after also posting a 65-56 win in Philadelphia
back on Jan. 27. The Hens have now downed Drexel six straight times and
lead the all-time series 46-23.
The Blue Hens jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead in the first three minutes
before Drexel settled down and eventually took a 23-22 lead on a
Flanagan jumper with 5:50 left. The Dragons went up by three points but
Delle Donne, who hit just 3 of 10 first half shots from the field,
scored four points in the final 3:06 to send the Hens into intermission
After Drexel tied the game early in the second half, Delaware took
control and held the lead until the final minutes. The Blue Hens built
the lead to as many as 12 points at 52-40 as Carra completed a
conventional three-point play and Delle Donne buried a jumper with 5:53
left to cap an 11-4 run.
But Drexel answered quickly, reeling off 14 of the next 16 points,
including consecutive three-pointers by Pearson and Mershon to tie the
game at 54-54.
Carra's three-pointer from the left wing gave Delaware a 57-54 lead but
Mershon drained another trey with 1:20 remaining to knot the score again
at 57-57. But Delaware would take over from there as Carra knocked down
two free throws with 53 seconds left to give the Hens the lead for good
and then stole the ball on Drexel's next possession.
Delle Donne converted two free throws with 17 seconds left and Carra
iced the victory with another free throw toss with four seconds left.
Delaware held a commanding 42-29 advantage on the boards and knocked
down 15 of 16 free throws for the game.
DREXEL 57 (20-8, 13-4 CAA)
Wootton, 2-5 1-2 5, Flanagan, 3-9 0-0 8, Johnson-Allen, 1-3 0-0 2,
Mershon, 11-30 1-1 26, Creighton, 1-4 0-0 3, Redick, 1-2 2-2 4,
Thierolf, 0-0 0-0 0, Pearson, 3-4 0-0 9, Totals, 22-57 4-5 57.
DELAWARE 62 (26-3, 17-0 CAA)
Delle Donne, 9-22 9-9 28, Parker, 1-5 0-0 2, Miller, 1-1 0-0 3,
Richards, 1-5 0-0 2, Carra, 7-14 4-5 21, May, 0-3 0-0 0, Buchanan, 0-0
0-0 0, Lucas, 2-6 2-2 6, Totals, 21-56 15-16 62.
Halftime Score: Delaware 26, Drexel 25; Three-Point Field Goals: DREX -
9–23 (Pearson 3-4, Mershon 3-9, Flanagan 2-6, Creighton 1-3, Wootton
0-1), DEL - 5–13 (Carra 3-6, Miller 1-1, Delle Donne 1-5, Lucas 0-1);
Rebounds: DREX – 29 (Wootton, Mershon, 5), DEL – 42 (Delle Donne, 10);
Assists: DREX – 15 (Mershon, 6), DEL – 12 (Carra, 4); Total Fouls: DREX
– 15, DEL – 9; Fouled Out: Wootton (DRE); Attendance: 5,094.