Hens open preseason with 63-31 win
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012 13:11
The Delaware women’s basketball team began its season by missing its first 10 shots and playing without the reigning CAA Player of the Year, senior forward Elena Delle Donne. At home against Sam Houston State in the first round of the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament, the defending CAA champion Hens (ranked 11th in the AP Poll) started off in an early deficit.
According to head coach Tina Martin, the Hens didn’t panic despite the early adversity.
“I knew there would be nerves,” Martin said. “I mean, it’s the first game of the year. Forget the fact that Elena’s out, it’s just the first game of the year and everybody’s a little tight, everybody’s a little nervous.”
Senior forward Danielle Parker scored the first basket of the game for Delaware at the 15:21 mark. However, the Hens trailed until there was 5:58 remaining in the first half, when senior guard Kayla Miller hit a layup to tie the game at 11.
With Delaware up 15-11 about two minutes later, senior guard Jaquetta May stole the ball from a Bearkat, took it down the court and split two defenders with a spin before finishing with a layup.
May said the Hens’ defense helped create opportunities at the other end.
“Our shots weren’t falling in the beginning,” May said. “It was very slow, but we played defense and we kept their amount of points down, so I knew eventually our shots would start to fall.”
Delaware ended the first half leading 26-16. The Hens shot nine of 37 in the first half, with Sam Houston State going six of 23 from the field. May scored nine points in the opening half, including six straight from 5:18 to 3:28.
Delaware came out stronger in the second period, going on an 11-2 run in the first 4:21.
“In the second half, once we calmed down, we really started to get some transition points and some people start knocking down some little short jump shots,” Martin said.
From the 12:18 mark to the 5:50 point, Delaware held the Bearkats to one made free throw, while scoring 18 points of its own.
The Hens finished with a 63-31 win, defeating the Bearkats in the first meeting between the two schools. The 31 points Sam Houston State scored is the fewest allowed by Delaware since a 2002 matchup with Towson.
Delaware shot 13 of 29 in the second half, with final numbers of 22 of 66, good for 33.3 percent. Sam Houston State went five of 28 in the second and 11 of 51 overall for a percentage of 21.6. Delaware forced 21 turnovers while losing the ball 12 times.
The Hens have now won 15 consecutive home games.
Parker scored nine points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. May had 13 points and 11 boards, while senior guard Trumae Lucas led the Hens with 14 points.
Lucas said the team stepped up without Delle Donne, a three-time All-CAA player.
“I mean, we definitely missed having Elena out there, but we obviously know that with her not playing, we have to do what we have to do regardless,” Lucas said.
Delle Donne recently suffered a flare-up of Lyme disease, which she first developed in 2008. Martin said her status for future games is unknown.
“It really comes down to how she’s feeling and when she feels like she can get back on the floor and compete, so I’ll go totally by and support her by what she says she’s feeling and so hopefully it won’t take too long,” Martin said.
Delaware plays today at 2 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center against Georgetown. The Hoyas made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
Martin said Delaware would have to play well against an experienced Georgetown team.
“It’ll be a challenge because they’re so athletic and so quick and they just pressure you the entire time,” she said. “We’re going to have to take care of the basketball and obviously we’re going to have to defend really, really well.”