Elena Delle Donne tallied 28 points and the 15th-ranked Delaware Blue Hens fended off the Drexel Dragons (59-56) in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament on March 17.
With the victory, Delaware (30-3) earned the CAA automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and extended their school-record winning streak to 25 games. The Blue Hens could start the NCAA Tournament at home as they host first and second round games.
Down 46-29 with 14:35 remaining, Drexel outscored Delaware 27-9 over the next 13:23 to take a 56-55 lead. Trumae Lucus then made both of her free throws to give the Blue Hens the lead back (57-56) with 44.4 seconds left.
The Dragons turned the ball over on the very next possession as Abby Reddick was called for travelling with 20 ticks on the clock. Delle Donne knocked down two free throws with 9.9 seconds to increase Delaware’s lead to three and Drexel was not able to get a shot off in the final seconds as Hollie Merson committed her fourth turnover of the game.
Delle Donne, the tournament’s MVP, was 9-of-22 from the field and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. She also collected five rebounds. Lucas was the only other Blue Hen to reach double figures with 12 points while Lauren Carra contributed 10 rebounds and six assists.
Taylor Wootton led Drexel (22-10) with 21 points and Mershon chipped in 18 points and dished out nine assists. Wootton was 8-of-11 from the field including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. She also blocked three shots.
Drexel outshot Delaware 43.8 percent (21-of-48) to 40.4 percent (19-of-47) from the field and made six more three-pointers then the Blue Hens (10-4). The difference in the game was that Delaware made 17 free throws compared to four for Drexel and turned the ball over three less times (11-8).
Other game notes:
– Delaware defeated Drexel in last season’s CAA title game.
– The Blue Hens have won 42-straight games against CAA opponents.
– Lucas was selected to the all-tournament team.
– Seven of Drexel’s 10 three-pointers came in the second half.
– Drexel has lost seven straight games to Delaware.
– The Dragons allowed just 41.3 points a game during the three-day tournament.