College basketball fans remember Elena Delle Donne. She was the 6-5 high school phenom who backed out of a committment to UConn two years ago.
She wasn't just any recruit, though. Delle Donne was considered by some to be the next Candace Parker. She's versatile player who can shoot and handle the ball well. Few women her size, if any, have that kind of skill.
Delle Donne, who said she was "burned out" by basketball, returned home to her native Delaware after leaving Connecticut. But she didn't play basketball her true freshman season. She instead played volleyball.
Now she's back and Delaware (11-6, 3-3 CAA) has now become a contender in the Colonial Athletic Conference.
Believe me when I say she's the real deal. Delle Donne has been nothing short of brilliant for Delaware since returning to the hardwood this year. She's averaging 25.3 points on 50 percent shooting and is getting nine rebounds per game.
Come Sunday at 2 p.m., anyone in the New York Metro area not watching the AFC championship game will to be able to see Delle Donne in person when her Delaware Blue Hens take on Hofstra at the Mack Sports Complex in Hempstead.
It will be a tall order containing Delle Donne and former Half Hollow Hills West graduate Tesia Harris. The older sister of star high school baller Tobias, Tesia has also been on fire this season. On the same night Delle Donne tied a Delaware school record with 39 points, Harris drained six three-pointers, which also tied a school record.
Harris is averaging 12.2 points and nearly five rebounds per game.
Don't expect Hofstra to roll over on Sunday. The Pride (10-8, 3-3) have their own duo to contend with. Freshman forward Shante Evans (13.1 ppg, 9.2 reb) and Jessica Fuller (9.2 ppg, 7.2 reb) are a potent combination. If Pride senior guard Sam Brigham (10.3 ppg, 44% 3pt) continues her hot shooting, expect a great game between two up and coming programs in the CAA.
The Pride has other scorers, including Nicole Capurso and Candice Bellocchio, they can depend on.
A win would put the Pride in sole possession of fifth place, one spot from earning an opening-round bye in the CAA Tournament.
Photo credit: AP