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Deleware Wins As Delle Donne Draws Landmark Crowd in Home Opener

(Guru Note: Guru was in the home office Friday night. Information is off the Delaware email report)

By Mel Greenberg

Delaware red-shirt freshman sensation Elena Delle Donne has been drawing double teams and other attempted smother defenses on the court.

On Friday night as the Blue Hens topped Navy, 67-50, she made her mark drawing a crowd in the stands at the Bob Carpenter Center in a nonconference game that served as Delaware's long-awaited home opener after a seven-game road trip.

The native of Wilmington whose last appearance in the First State in a basketball uniform was in March 2008 at Ursuline Academy scored 26 points for the Blue Hens (5-3). Back in the arena in which she won several state high school titles and crowd of 3,040 became the highest ever for a Delaware women's home opener and second highest for a game that was not part of a doubleheader.

The 6-5 guard-forward also grabbed six rebounds, and dealt three assists

It was the third straight win for Delaware after Delle Donne returned from a two-game absence due to a sprainedright ankle.

While Delle Donne remains the big story at home and in the nation, she wasn't Delaware's only story against the Midshipmen.

Danielle Parker scored 13 points along with getting six rebounds,Tesia Harris scored 12 points, and Jocelyn Bailey

had game and career-highs of 11 rebounds.

"It was a grind-it-out win that we really needed," Delaware coach Tina Martin said. "I think it's really going to come full circle. We need to get through this next week and a half. It's a critical stretch because if we can make it through La Salle (Sunday), we have about a week to practice and heal.

"The continuity, the movement of our offense, is not as sharp as I'd like it to be," Martin added. "It was a great crowd. If we can get that again with La Salle and again against Buffalo (Dec. 22), it will be huge for our team."

Delaware will be making one more roster adjustment over the holidays as Kayla Miller, a transfer from George Washington who is also an Ursuline grad, becomes eligible.

Navy (7-4) got to make its own dent in the arena record book in the loss by hitting 12 three-pointers in 34 attempts.

Incidentally, Delle Donne came into the game as the second-leading scorer in the Colonial Athletic Association.