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Courtesy: CAA/Rafael Suanes

Delaware Women's Basketball Crowned CAA Champs Again in 2013

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 03/17/2013
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (March 17, 2013) - All-America senior forward Elena Delle Donne poured in a game-high 28 points to lead top-seeded and 15th-ranked Delaware to its second consecutive league title with a 59-56 thrilling victory over third-seeded Drexel in the CAA Women's Basketball Championship, presented by Jani-King.

Senior guard Trumae Lucas scored 12 points off the bench for Delaware (30-3) and senior guard Lauren Carra grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to go along with six assists for the Blue Hens. Delaware extended its school-record win streak to 25 games and received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Blue Hens are the host of one of the 16 first and second rounds and earned a home game in the first round and second if they happen to advance.

Drexel (22-10) was led by senior forward Taylor Wootton's 21 points, including a 4-5 shooting mark from three-point range. Senior guard Hollie Mershon added 18 points and a game-high nine assists.  

Delle Donne earned CAA Most Outstanding Player honors for the second consecutive year, while teammate Lucas joined her on the All-Tournament Team.  Drexel's Wootton and Mershon were also named to the All-Tournament squad, along with UNCW's Kelva Atkins and Hofstra's Deven Green.

After leading 30-27 at halftime, Delaware began the second half on an 11-0 run to increase its lead to 14 with 16:08 to play. The Blue Hens would jump out to their largest lead of the game at 46-29 with 14:37 to play on back-to-back buckets by Delle Donne totaling five points forcing a Drexel timeout.

The Dragons would rally out of the timeout going on a 16-2 run to cut the Blue Hen deficit to three, 48-45, with 9:06 to play in the game. Three Drexel players would hit three-pointers during the run including a pair from Wootton.

Delaware junior guard Akeema Richards would convert a three-point play to increase the UD lead back to 53-48 with 6:17 to play in the game. However, Mershon would hit her second three-pointer of the half to bring Drexel back within two points at 53-51. It was the closest Drexel had been closing gap since the 15:02 mark in the first half.

Drexel would tie the game at 53-53 on another Wootton three-pointer with 1:55 to play forcing a Delaware timeout. Delle Donne would convert two free throws on the next possession to give the Blue Hens a two point lead. On the next trip down the floor for Drexel, Wootton would sink her fourth trey of the game to give the Dragons a one-point lead, their first since the 18:43 mark in the first half. 

The final forty-four seconds of play the Blue Hens took back the lead with a pair of Lucas free-throws and secured the win with a pair of Delle Donne free-throws.

Drexel had one final chance to force overtime with four seconds to go but Lucas stole the ball away from Mershon and the Blue Hens were able to pass the ball around for the final three seconds and seal the three point victory.

Delaware finished the game shooting 40.4% from the field, while shooting an astounding 85.0% (17-20) from the free-throw stripe. The Blue Hens also held a 20-12 advantage in points in the paint, although the Dragons sank 10 buckets from long range and the Blue Hens were held to just four. 

The Blue Hens will learn their NCAA match-up Monday night, March 18 as the 64-team tournament bracket will be announced at 7 pm on ESPN. The WNIT selections will be announced later Monday evening.