UPPER MARUBORO,MD (AP) — Elena Delle Donne scored 11 of her 15 points in the decisive first half and No. 7 Delaware breezed past UNC Wilmington 66-39 Saturday to advance to the Colonial Athletic Association title game.
Delaware (29-1) limited the Seahawks to four baskets on 14 percent shooting in taking a 42-13 halftime lead. It was the school-record 19th straight victory for the Blue Hens, a streak that includes three wins over UNCW (20-12).
Delle Donne, the nation’s leading scorer, shot 5 for 12 from the field and finished well below her 28-point average. But the 6-foot-5 junior played only 18 minutes due to the lopsided score and because the Blue Hens will be playing their third game in three days on Sunday, when they will attempt to claim the school’s first CAA tournament championship.
Delaware will next face either James Madison or Drexel. The Blue Hens, who lost in the final round in 2003, 2005 and 2010, are undefeated in league play this season.
Akeema Richards scored 13 for the Blue Hens, whose only loss this season was at No. 5 Maryland on the road on Dec. 29. Tawanna Lee led the Seahawks with 13 points. UNCW scored 94 in a quarterfinal win over Hofstra, including 51 in the first half.
Against Delaware, however, the majority of the Seahawks’ shots clanged off the rim or never even made it to the basket. Alisha Andrews, the team’s leading scorer, went 0 for 9 with two turnovers
UNCW made its first two shots in taking a 5-3 lead, then missed 16 straight field-goal tries in falling behind 22-8. At that point, Delle Donne had more points (nine) than the Seahawks.
A driving layup by Lee finally ended UNCW’s drought with 9:33 left in the half. Delaware then went on a 20-2 run in which seven different players scored.
Delle Donne took a seat on the bench in the midst of the barrage and stayed there over the final five minutes.
She started the second half, contributed a pair of baskets and sat down for good after six minutes of work. Delaware held a 51-21 lead with 14 minutes left, and soon after that Blue Hens coach Tina Martin called upon her reserves to finish up the rout.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)