Elena Delle Donne too much to handle as Delaware beats Hofstra
Fans who came to the Mack Sports Complex Thursday night for The Elena Delle Donne Show weren't disappointed.
The Delaware senior had 32 points and 10 rebounds in a 79-50 win over Hofstra, and in a stretch that lasted a little more than a minute early in the first half, she treated fans to the entire Delle Donne experience.
Hofstra (12-15, 8-8 Colonial Athletic Association) had no intention of serving as an accommodating host to Delle Donne, taking a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes. The Pride shadowed her all over the court, employing a triangle-and-two defense and other tricks.
Then Delle Donne exposed the limitations of the strategy on four straight possessions, scoring 10 points in a 1:17 span.
The 6-5 forward began the spree with an easy bank shot after posting up in the lane, sank a pull-up three-pointer from the top of the key, hit a three-pointer off a pick on the right wing and finished with a step-back jumper along the left baseline.
"It's as tough as it looks," said Hofstra's 5-10 Candace Bond (14 points), who had the unenviable task of being the primary defender on Delle Donne. "You just have to try to limit her touches and hope she misses and get the rebound."
Delle Donne boosted her scoring average to 25.5 points per game, which ranks second in the nation. Five inches taller than any other player on the court, Delle Donne displayed the skills of a shooting guard, beating the Pride with a series of jump shots off the dribble.
Delle Donne played 35 minutes, showing no lingering symptoms from Lyme disease, which caused her to miss six games early this season. The disease also cost her 11 games last season, when she led the nation in scoring.
"I'm still medicated and doing all my treatments, but I've been really healthy," Delle Donne said. "I think the treatments that I'm on right now are definitely making me turn a corner and it hasn't been bugging me at all playing."
The 18th-ranked Fightin' Blue Hens (25-3, 16-0) have two games remaining before the CAA Tournament. They will be the final two home games of Delle Donne's storied career, but she's trying not to get caught up in the emotions.
"We're focused on each and every game," she said. "We don't want to look forward too far, but obviously we do see that Senior Night is coming. It's a little sad, but we have a lot of work to do and we're excited about the rest of the season."