Delle Donne drops 39 points in Delaware win

around Little Rock's Janette Merriex on her was to 39 points in Delaware's first-round NCAA tournament win over the Trojans. DANNY JOHNSTON / Associated Press
around Little Rock's Janette Merriex on her was to 39 points in Delaware's first-round NCAA tournament win over the Trojans. DANNY JOHNSTON / Associated Press (Elena Delle Donne goes up)
Posted: March 19, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Elena Delle Donne made the most of her first NCAA tournament appearance.

The Delaware star had 39 points and 11 rebounds on Sunday to lift the third-seeded Blue Hens to a 73-42 win over 14th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock.

The Blue Hens (31-1) earned their first victory in three NCAA tournament games and ran their winning streak to 21 in a row.

Delle Donne, the nation's leading scorer at 27.5 points per game, was making her first NCAA appearance after twice leading the Hens to the WNIT. The junior collected 20 points and nine rebounds in the first half.

Marian Kursh had 12 points for the Trojans (20-13), who were making their third straight NCAA appearance.

Delaware entered the tournament as a trendy pick for a deep run, because of Delle Donne and the team's success this season. The Blue Hens' only loss was an 85-76 decision at No. 5 Maryland on Dec. 29.

The Blue Hens will face either Nebraska or Kansas in Tuesday's second round.

The 6-foot-5 Delle Donne had 39 of Delaware's first 56 points before taking a seat on the bench for good midway through the second half. She went 14 for 27 from the field, including 5 for 8 from three-point range.

Lauren Carra added 12 points for the Blue Hens, who had 10 players score.

UALR, which trailed by 32-22 at halftime, was just 16 of 51 (31 percent) from the field. Taylor Gault, the Trojans' leading scorer, was 3 of 19 and finished with seven points.

The Blue Hens, particularly Delle Donne, put the game away in the second half - hitting 16 of 31 shots and leading by as many as 34 points.

Delle Donne opened the half with a jumper, then added her fourth three-pointer of the game on the next possession to put Delaware up by 42-28. She scored nine in a row to put the Blue Hens up by 51-28 before exiting the game for the first time with 11:58 remaining.

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