Best Female Athlete
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 01:05
1. Elena Delle Donne (basketball)
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Delle Donne simply had one of the best seasons of any athlete, in any sport, in Delaware history. The numbers she put up were historic—28.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game and 75 assists, 86 blocks and 39 steals this season. But it wasn’t just her numbers that made the All-American stand out.
She put everything together to rack up multiple prestigious awards. Delle Donne took home honors on the small scale—First Team All-CAA, nine-time CAA Player of the Week—and the big scale as a National Player of the Year finalist, academic All-American, First Team Associated Press All-American and many others. As she would say, more importantly, she led her team to its first-ever win in an NCAA Tournament game, with the Hens beating the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The Hens then fell in a disappointing second-round loss to Kansas, but had accomplished more than any Delaware women’s basketball team in history.
Delle Donne didn’t make it that far alone. The rest of the squad turned out performances to earn Delaware a perfect league record and an eventual 31-2 overall record. Delle Donne’s presence on the floor and in the huddle made her teammates better.
She returns for her senior season next year, along with all but four of her teammates and a few promising newcomers. Delaware also hosts first and second-round NCAA Tournament games next season. Delle Donne and company have their sights set on a deeper run in next year’s national tournament.
2. Samantha Carnall (tennis)
The senior star of the women’s tennis squad put together another impressive year in her last season at Delaware. She racked up 18 singles wins, good for second on the team, and another 18 wins in doubles play with various partners. Carnall already owns the record for most singles wins in a season with 30, but this year she took over as Delaware’s career wins leader when she won her 76th match in September.
She led her team to a 4-0 win in the first round of the CAA Tournament over Hofstra. The Hens then fell 0-4 to second-seeded UNC Wilmington. Carnall’s performances in her final season earned her a spot on the All-CAA singles second team. She was also named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American nominee. Carnall also shares the record for most doubles wins in a season (35) with Megan Doran.
3. Alissa Alker (volleyball) and Lauren Carra (basketball)