7:00 PM ET, February 23, 2012
NEWARK, Del. -- Three days seemed like three weeks for Elena Delle Donne, who couldn't wait to play another game in the wake of her worst performance of the season.Delle Donne had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and Delaware (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) coasted past George Mason 71-53 on Thursday night to stretch its winning streak to 15.It was a redemptive performance for the 6-foot-5 junior, who tallied a paltry 12 points on 4-for-19 shooting in a 40-39 win over Drexel on Sunday. She did hit the game-winner in that game with 2 seconds left, but that didn't erase the bad vibe that lingered through practice this week."It was a very, very ugly game," Delle Donne said. "We were excited to play another game and clean things up. The whole team really wanted to get out there and fix it."And that they did.The Blue Hens (25-1, 16-0 Colonial Athletic Association) scored the game's first six points and never trailed. Delle Donne outscored George Mason 22-21 in the first half and finished 9 for 16 from the field, including 3 for 5 from beyond the arc, and went 7 for 8 at the foul line."I felt much better," she said. "I was in the gym working on it. When you work on something, generally it gets better. I was happy with the results today."Danielle Parker contributed 14 points and 12 rebounds for Delaware, her fourth double-double of the season.Taleia Morton scored 17 for George Mason (13-14, 7-9). The Patriots shot 25 percent in the pivotal first half and 32 percent for the game."I thought we played hard. I didn't think we shot the ball well," coach Jeri Porter said. "We're one or two in the league in 3-point field goal percentage, and we went 0 for 10 tonight. We missed a lot of good looks at the basket."George Mason got within 11 in the second half but never threatened to make a serious run."I definitely think we had control of the game the whole time," Delle Donne said. "But the second half we should have extended the lead a lot more and kept executing. We kind of let up a little bit. I didn't like that too much, but a win's a win and we're happy with that."In the first meeting between the teams, Delle Donne scored 40 and Delaware outrebounded Mason 49-19 in a 66-54 win. The Patriots improved their rebounding in the rematch, collecting 31 to the Blue Hens' 46, but they still couldn't find a way to stop Delle Donne."She's phenomenal," Porter said. "There's not a whole lot you can do when she's as long as she is. She's athletic and has the ability to elevate over you."Delle Donne, the nation's leading scorer with 28.1 points per game, notched her 12th double-double -- the sixth in seven games. She also had four assists.It was Delaware's 20th double-digit win and 10th in 11 home games. The Blue Hens' only loss was at Maryland on Dec. 29.That proved to be a mere blip in a marvelous season in which Delaware has become the team to beat in the CAA."I think the kids are starting to feel the stress a little bit of being in the Top 10 in the country," coach Tina Martin said. "This is a grind. These kids are tired."With Delle Donne leading the way, Delaware made 14 of 29 shots from the field in the first half in taking a 38-21 lead.Lauren Carra grabbed the opening tip and drove for a layup with two seconds elapsed to give the Blue Hens the lead for good. After George Mason closed to 6-4, Akeema Richards popped a jumper from the corner and Delle Donne added a three-point play to spark a 9-0 run that made it 15-4.The Patriots committed only one turnover in the opening 11 minutes but missed 14 of their first 17 shots from the floor.Martin substituted liberally in the first half but the one constant was Delle Donne, who went 7 for 11 from the floor with eight rebounds.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-68 (.324)||26-53 (.491)|
|3P Made-Attempted||0-10 (.000)||3-7 (.429)|
|FT Made-Attempted||9-12 (.750)||16-18 (.889)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||16 (0/0)|