No. 18 Delaware 79, Hofstra 50

After struggling in the last two wins, Elena Delle Donne and

Delaware were thrilled to put together a complete game against

Hofstra. Clinching the regular-season conference crown in the

process was just an added bonus.

Delle Donne scored 32 points to help No. 18 Delaware beat

Hofstra 79-50 on Thursday night for its 20th straight victory.

”We’re excited to get a really solid game under our belt and

more happy with getting a really good win right now,” Delle Donne

said. ”We wanted to clean a few things up.”

The Blue Hens (25-3, 16-0 Colonial Athletic Association) barely

beat James Madison on Sunday 61-60. That came after a 14-point win

over George Mason, which is second to last in the conference.

Trailing Hofstra by four with 5 minutes left in the first half,

Delaware took over. The Blue Hens scored 13 of the last 15 points

to end the half and then the first 12 of the second half to put the

game away.

Delaware held Hofstra without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes

spanning the halves until Candace Bond hit a 3-pointer with 12:07

left to make it 55-36.

”We didn’t start the second half very well,” Hofstra coach

Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said. ”The decisions we were making were

poor.”

The Blue Hens have now won 35 straight in the conference, which

is tied for the second longest streak in the nation with Florida

Gulf Coast. Top-ranked Baylor holds the nation’s longest active

conference streak with 38 consecutive Big 12 victories.

Bond’s 14 points led Hofstra (12-15, 8-8), which has dropped

four straight games.

Delle Donne, who is the nation’s second-leading scorer averaging

just over 25 points, had 20 in the first half and moved into a tie

for 16th place on the all-time NCAA scoring list with Ohio State

great Jantel Lavender.

Delle Donne now has 2,818 points. At the pace she’s on, she

would need eight more games to become the ninth player to reach

3,000 points. Delaware has two more regular-season games and the

Blue Hens would have three in the CAA tournament if they make the

finals.

The Blue Hens are also hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA

tournament.

Delle Donne has missed 22 games in her career. She sat out six

games earlier this season with a reoccurrence of the symptoms of

Lyme disease that forced her to miss a dozen games two seasons ago.

The 6-foot-5 star, who is averaging 27 points in her career, would

definitely have made a strong run at Jackie Stiles’ all-time

scoring mark of 3,393 points (Southwest Missouri State, 1998-2001)

had she been healthy.

She was too much for Hofstra which has lost the last four

meetings to Delaware.

”They have Delle Donne, that’s the big difference,” said

Shante Evans, who added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Pride.

”She’s such a big presence on the court.”

The Pride came out strong, taking a 10-2 lead on the Blue Hens

in the game’s first four minutes. Then Delle Donne took over. She

kept Delaware in the game early, scoring the team’s first 12 points

despite Hofstra constantly having two defenders on her.

”We came out a little slow,” Delle Donne said. ”It’s how we

played the prior two games. Defensively we weren’t doing well at

the beginning. I was getting some openings to keep us in the game.

I knew people like Trumae (Lucas) and Danielle (parker) would step

up.”

The Pride opened up a 30-26 lead on Andreana Thomas’ 3-pointer

with 5:14 left in the half. Lucas scored the next nine points for

Delaware, which closed the half on a 13-2 run to take a 39-32 lead

at the break.

Lucas finished with 13 points.

Delle Donne added a fifth conference record to her growing list

of achievements. She broke a tie with Tiffany Benson, who played at

William & Mary, for blocked shots when she recorded her 256th

in the first half.

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