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RALLY TIME! ODU Tops #5 Delaware With Huge Comeback, 50-49

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 13, 2010
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March 13, 2010

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HARRISONBURG, Va. - Behind a torrid second-half comeback in today's 2010 CAA Tournament Seimfinals, the Lady Monarchs (18-12) earned a dramatic one-point win over the #5 seeded Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens (21-11). Playing from behind for over 25 minutes from the eight-minute mark in the first half, it took a huge second-half rally for top-seeded Old Dominion to erase a 12-point halftime deficit, escaping with a 50-49 victory.

ODU advances to play in the 2010 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Women's Basketball Championship Game tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet. Fans are reminded to turn their clocks forward an hour tonight for the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.

Sophomore Mairi Buchan (Stirlingshire, Scotland) was the one who came up with the clutch buckets on Saturday, putting ODU up twice down the stretch with a pair of floaters over top CAA Player of the Year and All-Defensive Team forward Elena Delle Donne. Sophomore Tia Lewis (Poulan, Ga.) had the eventual gamewinner, knocking down the eventual gamewinner on a stickback, giving her a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

In the early going, ODU would lead by as many as five points, going up 9-4 on a jumper from senior Jessica Canady, but after a Buchan layup with 10:49 remaining, ODU would go cold from the field. Lewis hit a layup with 7:12 remaining, but the Lady Monarchs were held to only those two points for a span of nearly nine minutes.

The lull gave Delaware a chance to extend their run to 14-2 over 5:26, taking an eight point lead, 26-18. Another Delle Donne three-pointer, coming at the buzzer, capped what would be a 21-5 run over the final 9:25 in the half to give the Hens a 12-point lead at the break, 33-21.

Lewis led the way for ODU with 8 points and 7 rebounds in the first 20 minutes while Canady added five points in limited minutes due to early foul trouble. Delle Donne led for Delaware, scoring 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while Tesia Harris added eight points.

The first make of the second half for either team didn't come for nearly four minutes, as ODU junior Jasmine Parker finally knocked down a fast-break layup after stealing the ball from Delle Donne.

Delaware continued to struggle from the field, managing just one bucket in the first 9:45, while ODU started to chip away at the lead. Jessica Canady led the charge, scoring four of the first six ODU points in the half as the Lady Monarchs opened the second stanza on a 10-3 run to get back within seven, 36-31. The Lady Monarch team defense grabbed four steals in the run, as they picked up the defensive pressure.

ODU would get back within four at 39-35 after a long jumper from Buchan and a bank shot from Shadasia Green, but Delle Donne would go on to score six of the next eight to get the lead back to eight, 45-37. It was then Jackie Cook's turn to answer the call, scoring five straight points for ODU, including a three-pointer that would get ODU back within three for the first time since the 6:14 mark in the first half.

A pair of Shadasia Green free-throws pulled ODU within one, 45-44 with 2:24 remaining, and Buchan completed the rally when she swished a runner over Delle Donne with 1:34 remaining. The Delaware rookie was fouled and went to the line for one-and-one, re-taking the lead with the two makes. Buchan had déjà vu the next time down the floor, giving ODU the lead on another runner over Delle Donne.

After two more free-throws from Delle Donne, the Lady Monarchs teetered back into the lead, 50-49, after a huge offensive rebound and stickback from Tia Lewis. It was her only bucket of the second half after leading ODU in the first half with 8 points. With 22 seconds on the clock, Delaware held for a last shot, but Delle Donne's mid-ranger jumper clanked off the front of the rim and ODU collected the rebound to seal the win.

Delle Donne was the only Delaware player to score in the second half, running off a string of 19 straight points, including her buzzer-beating three-pointer in the first half. The ODU collective would outscore her and the rest of the Delaware unit, 29-16, in the second half. The Hen rookie finished with 30 points on 9-of-23 shooting, adding a team-high eight rebounds.

ODU got 31 of their 50 points from post players Canady, Lewis and Buchan, including the last six that sealed the win for Old Dominion. The Lady Monarchs improved to 7-0 this season in games decided by five points or less, including this, the third such game against Delaware.

With the win, ODU advances to its 18th CAA Championship Game in 19 years as a part of the Colonial Athletic Association. They will play the winner of today's other semifinal matchup, #2 James Madison. The Dukes held off a strong second-half rally from VCU, edging out the Rams 79-70 after they had cut the lead to one late. Tip is set for 12:30 p.m. (EST) and fans are again reminded to remember Daylight Savings Time begins tonight.

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