No. 24 Delaware women beat Princeton 81-70By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer Thursday, Dec 1, 2011
This was the Blue Hens’ (5-0) first-ever game as a ranked team as they entered the poll Monday.
Delle Donne is a huge reason why the Blue Hens are unbeaten and in the Top 25. She’s leading the nation in scoring averaging 30 points.
Behind their 6-foot-5 star, Delaware scored the game’s first 14 points as the Tigers missed their first eight shots and had three turnovers. She had four points during the spurt, including the game’s first basket on a nifty spin move.
Princeton (6-1) was finally able to score 5 minutes in and closed within 21-15, but the Blue Hens put the game away with a 19-4 run. Delle Donne had seven points and Trumae Lucas scored five during the burst.
Delaware led 46-28 at the half and Princeton only got within 10 the rest of the game.
This game pitted two of the top mid major programs in the country, but the early burst by the Blue Hens took a lot of the excitement out of the contest as Princeton could never really recover from the early blow.
Delaware is now 41-14 when Delle Donne’s in the lineup and 3-12 when she doesn’t play. She missed a bunch of games last season—including a loss to Princeton—with Lyme disease, but says she’s completely healthy now. It’s hard to argue with her. She had 40 points in the school’s upset of then-No. 11 Penn State and had a 54-point game two seasons ago. She holds nine of the top 10 individual scoring games in school history.
On Thursday night, Princeton had no answer for her. Then again, few teams have. She was 13 for 19 from the field, scoring from all over. She hit 3’s, leaning shots, and took it to the basket. Delle Donne also had nine rebounds and five blocks.
The Blue Hens shot a blistering 62 percent from the field. Lucas added 12 points while Danielle Parker had 11 and Akeema Richards 10. The three were a combined 15 for 22 from the field.
Delaware’s next real test may not come until playing in No. 6 Maryland’s tournament at the end of the month.
Lauren Edwards scored 23 and Niveen Rasheed added 20 for Princeton, which had won its first six games matching the best start in school history. The Tigers hadn’t trailed by more than four points in its first six games. It took less than 2 1/2 minutes for that to happen on Thursday.
They were looking for their first win ever against a Top 25 opponent. They will have two more chances over the next two weeks. Princeton hosts 22nd-ranked DePaul on Dec. 13 then will play at No. 5 Stanford four days later.
Princeton has won 61 of its last 70 games en route to two straight Ivy League Championships. The Tigers had won 26 straight games at home with the last loss coming to Rutgers two seasons ago. It was tied for the fifth longest winning streak in the country according to STATS LLC.
Follow Doug at http://twitter.com/dougfeinberg