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Courtesy: CAA/Rafael Suanes

Delle Donne Leads Delaware To First CAA Women's Basketball Crown

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 03/11/2012
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (March 11, 2012) - Junior guard Elena Delle Donne scored 27 points to lead Delaware past third-seeded Drexel, 59-43, to win the 2012 Virginia 529 CAA Women's Basketball Championship at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. on Sunday afternoon. The CAA women's basketball title is the first in school history for the Blue Hens.

Junior guard Lauren Carra added 14 points for Delaware (30-1) who earns an automatic bid to next week's NCAA Tournament. Delle Donne, the CAA Player of the Year, added 10 rebounds and three blocks on the day to cap off her amazing CAA season as the Blues went 22-0 against conference opponents.

Drexel (18-13) was led by junior guard Hollie Mershon with 16 points and senior guard Kamile Nacickaite had 11 points for the Dragons.

Delle Donne earned CAA Most Outstanding Player honors, while teammates Akeema Richards and Carra joined her on the All-Tournament Team.  Drexel's Nacickaite, UNCW's Abria Trice and VCU's Courtney Hurt were also named to the All-Tournament squad.

Delaware grabbed an early 8-3 lead in the game's first five minutes, but the Dragons playing tough responded with a 11-4 run of its own capped off by a Fiona Flanagan three-pointer to give Drexel a 14-12 lead with 10:18 remaining in the first half. The Blue Hens dug in on the defensive end, allowing Drexel only one field goal the rest of the first half. In the meantime Delle Donne connected on a couple of jumpers, including one just before half to give Delaware a 20-16 advantage at half.

The Blue Hens extended the lead to 32-21 on a Carra three-pointer with 15:48 left in the game. A Mershon bucket from three-point range cut the lead to 34-26 with 13:29 remaining, but the Dragons again went cold, having a 10-minute stretch without a field goal. During the drought Delle Donne capped a 19-5 run for Delaware with a bucket to give the Blue Hens a 53-31 lead and put the game out of reach.

Delaware shot 40.4% (21-52) from the floor, including 54.5% in the second half. The Blue Hens dominated the boards, outrebounding Drexel 43-23. The Blue Hens also outscored the Dragons in the paint, 24-14.

Drexel was limited to only 29.8% field goal shooting, including just 6-for-23 from long range.

The Blue Hens will find out their NCAA tournament fate during the NCAA Women's Championship Show which airs Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.