Delaware women survive tough test in opening round; now champions [game 1 video]

Championship game: The University of Delaware women followed a similar script from Friday’s round one win. But it took some clutch free throws at the end to give Delaware a 59-56 win over Drexel.

It’s the 2nd year in a row Tina Martin’s Delaware team has won the CAA crown.  Both halves followed a similar script.  Delaware took a big lead in the first half only to see Drexel come back to within 3 points at halftime.

During the second half Delaware went on an 11-0 before Drexel started shooting 3 pointers to tie the game with 1:52 remaining and taking a brief one point lead with 1:09 left.  Elena Delle Donne’s final 2 free throws put the game away with 9 seconds remaining.

Update from day 2: One game remains for the University of Delaware women to complete their undefeated march through the CAA conference after their 75-54 victory over Hofstra.

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Elena Delle Donne led UD with 21 points for the second straight game.  The blue hens led right from the start, and the closest Hofstra came was within 9 points at half time.

Now UD faces Drexel for the CAA championship.  Drexel beat James Madison in their Saturday game.  It is the second straight year the two teams have face off for the championship.

Highlights from Friday’s opening contest.

Delaware survives a rough first half to win their first round CAA tournament contest against UNC-Wilmington, 51-43.  

The Blue Hens didn’t play much like a number one seed during the first 20 minutes of their opening round game in the conference tournament.  They went into the locker room at halftime trailing UNCW 15-20 after the Seahawks hit a three pointer at the buzzer.  The Hens picked up the pace in the second half, finally pulling away after very flat play early.  

Hens coach Tina Martin said, “It wasn’t pretty.”  She credited UNCW with coming ready to play.  Despite the ugly nature of the game, a win is a win.  Martin called it “survive and advance.”

Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne led the way for the Hens, scoring 21 points and making 9 of 14 shots from the floor.  Guard Lauren Carra also finished in double digits with ten points plus seven rebounds.

For a while, it seemed like Delaware’s winning streak in the CAA was in jeopardy, but strong play at the end helped the Hens extend that streak to 41 straight games without a loss against CAA opponents.  

The Hens play again Saturday at 2 p.m. against the winner of this afternoon’s game between Northeastern and Hofstra.

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