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ODU Opens Decade With Thrilling Victory at Delaware, 60-59

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: January 03, 2010
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Jan. 3, 2010

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NEWARK, Del. - Behind a well-timed heater from beyond the arc, the Lady Monarchs came from behind in the final minutes to halt a University of Delaware (8-4, 0-1 CAA) six-game winning streak, dropping the Fightin' Blue Hens on their home floor, 60-59. Old Dominion improves to 19-0 all-time in CAA openers with the victory, and ups their season record to 3-8, 1-0 in the CAA.

ODU opened the game with four straight turnovers, but quickly turned the corner scoring 18 points over a 6:36 span. The run gave the Lady Monarchs an early 9-point lead on the Fightin' Blue Hens, up 18-9. The power behind the run came from junior forward Alena Voronina. After getting a nifty pass from freshman point Carolann Cloutier, Voronina powered through the chute and scored through a bunch of contact. The basket was good and she went to the line to convert the old fashioned three-point play. She would knock down another layup after an offensive rebound, giving her five points in the first half.

Her real value, though, came on the defensive end as she played one-on-one man defense against freshman sensation Elena Delle Donne. She denied Delle Donne the basketball aggressively in the first half, forcing other Delaware players to handle the ball. Delle Donne finished the first half with 14 points, but both Voronina and sophomore Tia Lewis limited the damage.

Delaware would chip away at the lead still and managed to even the score at 20 with 6:11 remaining in the half on a pair of Lauren Carra free-throws. ODU went on a 9-3 run led by Cloutier with four of her six points, but Delaware again got back within two before the break.

At the intermission, ODU held a slight 31-29 advantage behind their best shooting performance of the year, going 50% from the field on 11-of-22 shooting. Delaware had 10 made field goals in the half, but was shooting just 35.7% from the field.

The second half was back-and-forth the whole way. With 14:09 remaining, Delle Donne was guarded by ODU's junior guard Vicki Collier when she dribbled into a spin move and knocked down a jumper from the free-throw line as Collier was called for the foul. She converted the three-point play to put Delaware up by four, 41-37. Kquanise Byrd answered on the next possession for ODU, launching the first of what would become a very clutch night from long range.

Delle Donne knocked down a pair of free throws to go ahead 48-47 with 8:14 remaining, answered by an easy putback for Tia Lewis to put ODU back up by one. Delaware scored the next six, though, to open up their biggest lead of the game, 55-49. It was Carra that hit the three-pointer to put the Fightin' Blue Hens up by six with 5:45 remaining. The freshman guard finished tied for second on the team in scoring for the game, with nine.

Old Dominion would not go away, however, as juniors Jasmine Parker and Kquanise Byrd heated up from outside. Parker hit the first deep ball with 5:27 remaining to answer Carra and put ODU back within three. Then, after a Vicki Collier lay-up was traded with another basket from Carra, Byrd knocked one in from the top of the key to tie it up at 57.

A pair of Delle Donne free-throws with 2:08 remaining set up the dramatic finale. After the freshman Player of the Year candidate stole the ball from ODU, she received the ball at the elbow facing the basket. She drove to the left side where Parker stepped in and drew a huge charge, the first and only foul of the game for Delle Donne. The turnover gave ODU the ball with 1:31 to go down two points.

The Lady Monarchs rotated the basketball to the right corner, where it was Parker again, knocking down what would prove to be the eventual game-winning score.

Out of timeouts, Delaware could not set up a play going the other way, but they looked to Delle Donne, who had the gamewinner against UMASS with five seconds to go in Delaware's last game. She was double-teamed at the elbow, but still found a wide open Carra on the back door cut. As Carra put up the shot, Byrd rushed back to apply pressure and the Delaware rookie missed the shot, and Tia Lewis, the team's leader on the glass hauled in the game-winning rebound.

Old Dominion shot a season-high 48.9% from the field (23-47) including a season high-tying 42.9% from 3-point range (6-14), getting three from Parker, two from Byrd and one from freshman Jackie Cook. ODU outrebounded the Fightin' Blue Hens, 33-26, with Lewis leading the way with seven. Both teams scored 28 in the paint, while Delaware edged ODU off turnovers, 28-24.

Jasmine Parker led the team in scoring with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and added five steals for the third time this season. Delle Donne led Delaware with 28 points, adding seven rebounds and six steals in the game.

ODU will return to action as they conclude their four-game road swing at Northeastern on Thursday evening at 5:00 p.m. Northeastern dropped their CAA opener against VCU, 78-54, today, dropping their season record to 5-7, 0-1.

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