While some question the level of competition the Blue Hens face, back in November, UD earned a fan court-charging win over then No. 11-ranked Penn State. Delle Donne put up the usual 40. There were also wins against power conference foes Villanova, Providence and Wake Forest. In December they fought valiantly on the road against No. 5-ranked Maryland. And in March’s NCAA Tournament, they captured their first tournament win in program history, beating Arkansas Little-Rock by 31 before ultimately falling in the round of 32 to Kansas.
A national television audience witnessed what’s been brewing in the tiny state of Delaware for years now during the Hens’ two-game tourney run. Delle Donne’s 39 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against UALR made her a virtual celebrity and trendy topic on Twitter. Durant, someone who knows a little something about getting buckets in excess, tweeted, “Delle Donne, enough said.” The Philadelphia Phillies asked her to throw out the first pitch of their home opener.
When the team arrived back on campus, they were surrounded outside the Carpenter Center by proud fans, knowing their beloved Delaware was put on the map and Delle Donne was finally on the stage she was destined for.
“I always had dreams of this and bringing this type of attention to Delaware,” says Delle Donne. “With the right team and the right supporting cast, I think we’ve been able to do it. We’re making history.”
With another year of college hoops on the horizon, and supportive teammates who didn’t even speak to her about basketball while she played volleyball because they didn’t want to pressure her, Delle Donne will surely post seemingly untouchable records. People have their opinions on shunning the chance to play for national titles. But only Delle Donne knows what happiness is for her. Banners atop Gampel Pavilion or 5,000 at the BOB? Storied history or creating new stories? Love from a national audience or a family’s love?
Is she still considered a “waste?” Delaware was a top-10 team in the nation (31-2 overall) this year, and she’s still among the top three pro prospects in the game. No worries though. With the high school hype, personal attacks and internal anguish long gone, Delle Donne can rest. She did it her way, in the place and in front of the people who always show support and admiration.
“It’s amazing,” Delle Donne says. “I can also head home at any point for a home cooked dinner, hang out with my family and see my sister. So, I have the best of both worlds. I’m playing basketball at a nationally ranked school right now. We’re playing phenomenal but then my family is also right around the corner to enjoy it with me. No regrets. This decision has been the most amazing decision I’ve ever made. We’re achieving some goals here that a lot of people didn’t think we would ever reach. It’s just been so enjoyable and that’s the most important thing.”
How good will she be at the next level?
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