NEWARK, Del. -- The seven seniors on the University of Delaware women's basketball team went out in a blaze of glory Wednesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center as the Blue Hens celebrated Senior Night with an explosive 86-58 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Georgia State.
The No. 16 ranked Blue Hens (27-3, 18-0 CAA) completed their second consecutive perfect run through the CAA regular season and won their 22nd straight game to set a school record.
Delaware, which won its 37th straight CAA regular season game over three seasons, also established a school single game record by draining 12 three-pointers in just 23 attempts on the way to the one-sided victory.
The Hens hit 8 of 14 three-pointers in the first half alone and the 12 total broke the school record of 11 set vs. Buffalo in 2009-10, vs. UNCW in 2006-07, and against Princeton in 1999-2000.
All seven Blue Hen seniors got into the act as All-American Elena Delle Donne scored a game-high 24 points, Lauren Carra added 15 points which included four three-pointers, Danielle Parker pulled down 12 rebounds, including the 1,000th of her career, Trumae Lucas dished out a career-high nine points and pulled down nine rebounds, Jaquetta May, who sang the national anthem prior to the game, contributed seven points and seven rebounds, Kayla Miller scored three points and dished out two assists, and backup Chelsea Craig started her first career games and scored her first points of the season to go with two rebounds.
“It was a great night all the way around,” said Delaware head coach Tina Martin. “You probably couldn't script a better Senior Night for these kids. They were focused, they were into it. I'm proud of the kids and certainly these seven seniors. Certainly, going undefeated back-to-back seasons, what a great accomplishment for these players. Everybody came after us these past two years in the regular season and we took everybody's best punch. Now we have to regroup and refocus and try to go hunt down another CAA title. It's now a brand new season and we're well aware of that. I was confident that the older group was going to take care of business.”
A pair of Delaware freshmen, Alecia Bell and Courtni Green, also got into the act as they scored seven and six point respectively to add to the Blue Hen assault.
Georgia State (13-16, 5-13 CAA), which lost its third straight game, got
14 points from Kendra Long and 12 points, six rebounds, and three blocked shots from Cody Paulk.
Delaware swept the season series from Georgia State and downed the Panthers for the fifth straight time.
The game was the regular season finale for the Blue Hens, who will take a week off to gear up for the CAA Tournament, which will be held March
14-17 at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. Delaware, the defending champion, will be the No. 1 seed and open play in the quarterfinals March 15.
Delaware should have at least one more home game at the BCC as UD will serve as host of the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament March 24-26. With a No. 16 national ranking and a 26-3 record, Delaware should be a near lock to earn an at-large berth even if it does not capture the CAA Tournament title.
Thanks to three quick three-pointers, the Blue Hens jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game Wednesday night and never looked back as they treated a sellout crowd to a big victory. The game drew 5,092 fans who came out to thank the seven seniors who have provided the state with so many great memories over the past two seasons. The game was the fifth sellout the BCC this season.
The Hens led by as many as 25 points in the first half at 41-16 before the Panthers settled down and used a 7-3 run over the final four minutes to narrow the gap to 44-23 at halftime. Delle Donne hit 8 of 13 shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes and finished with 19 points for the stanza.
Delaware quickly built the lead up to 30 points at 57-27 as the Hens started the half with a 13-4 run, including two more three-pointers. The Hens later took their biggest lead of the day at 74-39 on a three-pointer by Courtni Green with 6:26 left.
“I was really happy about how our team was able to refocus after such an emotional beginning to the game,” said Delle Donne. “It really doesn't shock me, this team's always ready to go. We're always pretty focused on that next game. It's good we were able to have our moment, but we then got ready for the game. We did what we wanted to do in regular season for CAA play and now it's time to really refocus and get ready to go to the Showplace Arena and hopefully do what we did last year and repeat.”
“Right now, as a team, we pretty much have our emotions in check and we know that the road is not ending yet,” said Carra. “I think it will hit us when the season is actually over. Our ultimate goal is to win the CAA Championship and it's not going to be easy. We know that. But we've prepared ourselves mentally and physically to take on that challenge.”
GEORGIA STATE 58 (13-16; 5-13 CAA)
Dogo, 2-5 2-4 6, Paulk, 6-12 0-0 12, Long, 6-9 0-2 14, Nolan, 2-10 1-2 5, Watson, 2-6 4-4 8, Smith, 3-7 1-2 7, Cole, 1-5 0-0 2, Jackson, 0-3
0-0 0, Moss, 2-6 0-0 4, Totals, 24-63 8-4 58.
DELAWARE 86 (27-3; 18-0 CAA)
Delle Donne, 9-15 2-2 24, Parker, 1-2 3-3 5, Craig, 1-3 0-1 2, May, 3-5
1-2 7, Lucas, 2-9 0-0 5, Green, 2-7 0-0 6, Miller, 1-3, 0-0 3, Buchanan,
0-1 0-0 0, Bell, 3-8 1-2 7, Richards, 3-7 2-2 8, Carra, 5-9 1-2 15, Clark, 2-4 0-0 4, Leon, 0-1 0-0 0, Totals, 32-74 10-14 86.
Halftime Score: Delaware 44, Georgia State 23; Three-Point Field Goals:
G - 2–16 (Long 2-5, Nolan 0-3, Cole 0-3, Jackson 0-2, Moss 0-3), D -
12–23 (Carra 4-5, Delle Donne 4-7, Green 2-4, Miller 1-2, Lucas 1-4, Craig 0-1); Rebounds: G – 32 (Paulk. 6), D – 53 (Parker, 12); Assists: G – 9 (Long, Watson, 3), D – 20 (Lucas, 9); Total Fouls: G – 12, D – 12;