Without two starters, Hens suffer first loss
Women's basketball team falls to Princeton
Published: Thursday, December 2, 2010
Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2010 02:12
Without star sophomore forward Elena Delle Donne, Delaware dropped its first game of the year, as Princeton dominated the Hens 68-50 Wednesday night at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delaware was off to its best start in school history, but the loss drops them to 5-1.
"Obviously we couldn't keep it close tonight," Head Coach Tina Martin said. "They did a good job, we got tentative—we lose."
Delle Donne, the nation's leading scorer, did not play due to fatigue. She only played six minutes at LaSalle on Sunday and is listed as day-to-day.
Junior guard Jocelyn Bailey also did not play due to a concussion suffered in Sunday's game.
"Bottom line is, we're playing without two starters," Martin said. "Those are two big kids for us to lose to go against a team that's a top-40 team in the country."
Princeton used its hot three-point shooting to its advantage. The Tigers hit nine of their 19 attempts from behind the arc. Addie Micir hit six of those nine, on only seven attempts. She finished with 18 points.
Princeton's Niveen Rasheed also caused the Hens problems all night. The sophomore forward had a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
"Transition defense killed us," sophomore forward Danielle Parker said. "Just finding our man, that wasn't our strength tonight."
The Hens did lead at one point in the first half. They used a 10-0 run to go up by four points with 12:25 remaining in the half.
But Princeton responded with a three-pointer by Micir to go up 16-14 and never looked back.
Delaware was held without a field goal for the last seven minutes of the first half, which the Tigers used to go on a 14-0 run. The Hens also turned the ball over 21 times in the game.
"I think we started rushing our offense a little too much," sophomore guard Lauren Carra said. "We really weren't getting into our plays. We were turning the ball over way too much, which really hurt us."
On a night in which most players struggled with their shooting, Delaware only had two in double figures. Parker led the way with a double-double—14 points and 11 rebounds.
As a team, the Hens shot 36.7 percent from the floor, and found trouble at the free throw line, only hitting 13 of their 25 attempts. Carra had an especially tough time on offense, converting only twice on 13 attempts.
Parker tried to start a rally at the start of the second half. With Delaware down 16, she scored the Hens' first points of the half on a layup and was fouled, hitting the resulting free throw. After a steal by Vanessa Kabongo, Parker led a fast break and converted another layup, and was fouled again on the shot.
This time, she missed her free throw. Carra hit the Hens' only three-pointer of the night on their next possession to trim the deficit to 13 points. That was the closest they would get for the rest of the game.
"We tried to come back, but bottom line is, we just didn't have the guns," Martin said. "We didn't have enough scoring."
Kabongo was the only other Delaware player in double figures. She finished with 12 points and led the Hens with three assists.
The Hens will head to Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, where they will face off against Navy at 2 p.m. Martin said Delle Donne is doubtful for this game.
The team will then have an extended break for finals, not playing until Dec. 19, when it will travel to Penn State.
Delle Donne has more tests and doctor appointments lined up during the next few days to attempt to pinpoint what is affecting her. Martin said Delle Donne told her she is feeling tired and struggles running up and down the court.
So far, she has been tested for mononucleosis and has had her thyroid and iron level checked. All three tests have come back clean.
"There's still more tests to do. They just don't know what it is," Martin said. "Until we can find out what it is, she's going to be out. We want to win basketball games, but student-athletes' health is the most important thing."