By Joe Pantorno, Sports Editor
NEWARK, DE-- Playing for the Colonial Athletic Association lead eight games into the conference slate, the Hofstra University women's basketball team fell to the nationally ranked University of Delaware, who entered the game at no. 15 in the nation, 84-66 on Thursday night.
"It was a hard fought battle between number one and two," said head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. "I wanted a different outcome but we got them again. They are what they are but we are going to get better."
Delaware junior forward Elena Delle Donne scored 41 points in the win, shooting 14-29 from the field with 15 rebounds. She leads the nation in scoring, averaging 28.7 points per game.
"It is what it is, she's a great player," said Kilburn-Steveskey.
Hofstra junior forward Shante Evans recorded Hofstra's scoring high in a much more efficient manner, going 8-13 from the field for 22 points and seven rebounds.
"I thought Tay [Evans] was focused," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "I thought she played spectacular. I'd go into battle with her anyday. My system is my system. My best player had 13 shot attempts and their best player had 29 shot attempts so I'll end at that."
Led early by Evans and sophomore guard Katelyn Loper, Hofstra shot the ball exceptionally well (16-33, 48.5%) in the first half, holding a slim lead until the final minutes of the opening 20 minutes when Delaware tied the score at 37 at the buzzer.
Teams traded baskets for the first nine minutes of the second half as a hostile environment at the Bob Carpenter Center called for both teams to keep their heads despite some officiating disputes.
"We came in knowing it was going to be a tough game," said Evans. "We wanted to take their spot."
Led by Delle Donne, who simply went up to another level in the second half, Delaware went on a crippling 14-0 run to take a 69-55 lead with 6:45 left in the game.
"We were just lacking a sense of urgency," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "That was the ball game right there."
Delaware's Lauren Carra recorded 16 points on 13 shots, her and Delle Donne accounted for almost 65 percent of the Blue Hens' shots (42-65).
After the strong shooting first half, Hofstra shot just 11-29 for 37.9 percent. Loper had two points after a 12 point first half, finishing with 14. Senior guard Candice Bellocchio also recorded a double-digit effort with 10 points and seven assists playing the entire 40 minutes.
"We quit attacking to the basket," said Kilburn-Steveskey. "We have to be more aggressive about attacking the basket. We were making a lot of jumpers in the first half, and then we weren't attacking as aggressively."
Hofstra drops to third place in the conference after James Madison defeated Georgia State. Hofstra is next in action Sunday when it travels to Philadelphia to take on Drexel University.