Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Delaware's Delle Donne Wins Rare CAA Double

By Mel Greenberg

Delaware's Delle Donne Wins Rare CAA Double


By Mel Greenberg

Delaware redshirt-freshman Elena Delle Donne Wednesday night became the second individual to win both the Colonial Athletic Association women's player and rookie of the year award that was handed out at the annual banquet in Harrisonburg, Va., where the tournament for an NCAA berth begins Thursday.

Delle Donne beat Gabriela Marginean, from defending CAA champion Drexel, and host James Madison University's Dawn Evans, who were considered the two other leading candidates.

"Ellena Dellle Donne is the player of the year because we went from ninth to a tie for fourth,” Delaware coach Tina Martin said last week in campaigning for her own star.

“That’s a huge leap for our team,” she said. “When you look at the superstars in this year, which one elevated their team? And understand, Marginean and Evans are superstars, but the crazy thing is Elena is just a freshman.”

“There are five or six teams who can win this thing. It’s going to be exciting,” Martin looked ahead to the tournament. "There were a bunch of close games."

Delaware was involved in six narrow losses to the four powerhouses, including an overtime encounter at James Madison on a night Delle Donne set a slew of records, scoring 54 points.

Martin's team also lost twice to ODU in the final minute, as well as a double overtime setback at home to Drexel and an overtime loss to the Dragons on the road. Delaware also dropped a game to VCU on a last second three-pointer.

The Blue Hens will begin play Thursday afternoon against George Mason with the winner meeting Drexel in Friday's quarterfinals.

Old Dominion's Wendy Larry, whose Monarchs finished first, won coach of the year, while Virginia Commonwealth's Kita Waller won the defensive player of the year award. Delle Donne, who is second in the nation in scoring, also made the all-defensive team.

Marginean and Georgia State's Brittany Graham were co-recipients of the Dean Ehlers leadership award.

Former Old Dominion star Lucienne Berthieu was the only other CAA woman to win both awards after making her conference debut.

The CAA web site has complete information on the awards.

-- Mel


Inquirer Sports Columnist
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About this blog
Mel Greenberg covers college and pro women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he has worked for 38 years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather. He was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Click here for Mel's list of All-Decade players from Philadelphia-area schools.

Other contributors

Jonathan Tannenwald is a producer with Philly.com. In addition to covering the local college scene, he spent two years as the Washington Mystics beat writer for Women's Hoops Guru. He also writes his own blog, Soft Pretzel Logic, which covers men's college basketball, football, and other sports.

Kathleen Radebaugh is a recent graduate of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She covered women's basketball for the school's newspaper, The Hawk, and served as sports editor her sophomore year. She was also a four-year member of the varsity crew team.

Erin Semagin Damio covers the University of Connecticut and the WNBA's Connecticut Sun for the blog, and contributes other features. The Storrs, Conn., native also attends Northeastern University, where she is a coxswain on the varsity crew team.

Acacia O'Connor is based in Washington, D.C., where she reports on the Mystics and the college basketball scene in the nation's capital. A graduate of Vassar college, she played on the varsity women's basketball team and was editor of the student newspaper.

Click on any of the contributors' names above to e-mail them.

Reach Mel at poll416@gmail.com.

Mel Greenberg Inquirer Sports Columnist
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