Delaware State News
QUEENS, N.Y. _ Elena Delle Donne played the hero roll once again for the Delaware women’s basketball team Wednesday night.
The All-American pulled up and banked home a jumper with just 0.7 seconds on the clock to give the Blue Hens a dramatic, 60-59, overtime victory over St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena on Wednesday night.
The victory was the fourth in a row for the Blue Hens (9-3), including three in a span of just five days.
With six seconds on the clock, Delaware took control of a jump ball and got the ball into Delle Donne’s hands, who banked in an off-balance jumper.
“The play broke down a little bit as there was supposed to be a screen to get me the ball that didn’t happen,” said Delle Donne. “I realized when there was less than six seconds left, I had to get the ball off. I saw an opening in the lane to the left and I had to take it.
“I knew the backboard was the best way to go because it’s a high percentage shot for me. I saw the defender trying to take the charge, so I immediately pulled back and took the jump shot over her.”
The overtime contest was the first for the Hens since Feb. 13, 2011 when Delaware defeated William and Mary, 70-66.
“This was definitely the most emotional and draining game that I’ve ever played in,” said senior Jaquetta May stated. “It’s good to be on the winning side.”
Delle Donne finished with a game-high 29 points, 23 of which came after halftime. The 6-foot-5 senior also had 16 rebounds and went 13-of-13 from the foul line.
It was Delle Donne’s two free throws — after grabbing a defensive rebound — that tied the contest with 20 seconds left in regulation.
“Thankfully we got the win because this has been a long stretch, three games in five days against three very good teams,” said Delaware coach Tina Martin. “This should give our kids a lot of confidence. We’re not a finished product yet offensively, but we’re getting there.
“Defensively it has to tell you something when we come into other people’s places and shut them down. I’m really proud of the team. Everyone’s been sick, but they all showed a lot of heart.”
May added nine points and nine rebounds for Delaware while Danielle Parker pulled down 13 rebounds and Lauren Carra chipped in with eight points.
The Hens led for the majority of the overtime period and were up by as much as five with just over three minutes remaining. The Red Storm (6-6) took control over the final minutes, going on a 6-0 run, all off of free throws to go up, 59-58 with 28 seconds left in the game.
Fatigue definitely showed in the Hens in the first half as St. John’s took their largest lead of the game at 14-3 at the 13:39 mark. But Delaware slowly battled back and went on a 10-0 run to take a 20-18 advantage with just over seven minutes left in the first.
The Hens took a 27-24 lead going into halftime.
The two teams went back and forth in the second half and exchanged the lead eight times with nine score ties.
With 7:12 left on the clock, Delle Donne drained a three-pointer from the right corner off of a pass from Trumae Lucas and was fouled in the act of shooting. She knocked down the free throw for a four-point play to give Delaware a 45-42 lead.
Less than two minutes later, the forward drained a three at the top of the key off of an inbounds play to put Delaware up by four at 48-44 with 5:43 left.
In the final two minutes, St. John’s took a 51-49 lead before Delle Donne sank two free throws to send the game into overtime.
“I definitely think the statement in this win is that we are veterans and we don’t want to lose,” Delle Donne said. “We’ve been through games like this before and lost when we were younger and we don’t want to go through that again. We have a lot of trust in each other on the court. We’re older and we know what we have to do to get the win.”