Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Everyone’s talking about … Elena Delle Donne

Jayhawks wary of Blue Hens’ star

Delaware standout Elena Delle Donne listens to a reporter's question during a news conference Monday, March 19, 2012, in Little Rock Ark., previewing the Kansas-Delaware meeting in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Delaware standout Elena Delle Donne listens to a reporter's question during a news conference Monday, March 19, 2012, in Little Rock Ark., previewing the Kansas-Delaware meeting in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.


— It’s difficult to go more than a few seconds at Jack Stephens Center these days without hearing her name.

Elena Delle Donne.

She’s the Delaware University women’s basketball team’s inside-outside threat with the size (6-foot-5), skill (27.9 points a game, 10.3 rebounds, 42-percent three-point shooting) and pedigree (signed with Connecticut before transferring) to give opposing teams nightmares.

Right now, Delle Donne is Freddy Krueger for Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson and her Jayhawks, set to face the Blue Hens at 8:40 tonight in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Since defeating No. 6 seed Nebraska, 57-49, Sunday night in the first round, No. 11 seed Kansas (20-12) hasn’t had much time to prepare for No. 3 seed Delaware (31-1) and one of the country’s elite players. Henrickson said Monday while addressing the media that KU has gone over various defensive approaches in an attempt to thwart Delle Donne, but she didn’t want to make so many changes with such a narrow window for preparation that the Jayhawks would confuse themselves.

“There’s some things that we can’t control, and she can just hit ridiculous shots,” the eighth-year KU coach said of Delle Donne. “We’ve got to make sure we can manage the emotion of that. We’ve got to try to make a play and not let her get the same thing, but we recognize that.”

KU junior captain and point guard Angel Goodrich said facing unbeaten Baylor (34-0) and consensus player-of-the-year candidate Britney Griner in Big 12 play should prepare the Jayhawks for the daunting task that awaits them. A significant difference with Delle Donne is that she is three inches shorter than Griner, and she is a threat from behind the three-point line.

Goodrich (13.3 points, NCAA-leading 7.4 assists) said the Kansas forwards, especially senior Aishah Sutherland, would have to be active defensively on the perimeter.

“It’s gonna be a good match-up. Aishah, we trust her,” Goodrich said of the athletic 6-2 forward. “It’s just going to be a team effort.”

Henrickson indicated that three of KU’s forwards — Sutherland and subs freshman Bunny Williams and sophomore Tania Jackson — probably would guard Delle Donne at one point or another, but freshman starter Chelsea Gardner might not figure into that mix.

“Aishah will have the match-up to begin with, but Aishah can’t guard her for 40 minutes,” Henrickson said. “There’s no way. We’re going to have to move some people around.

“(Delle Donne) is too tough a match-up. And how much of the offense goes through her?”

Sutherland said she isn’t going to alter her approach just because Delaware has a superstar on its roster.

“I’m just going to face up, and I’m going to play my same game and not make any changes,” said Sutherland, who is averaging 13.8 points and 8.9 rebounds. “We’re going to go out there and play hard and play with the team and just play together. That’s what we need to do.”

Gardner, meanwhile, is hoping for results similar to her night against the Huskers in the first round, when she reached career highs of 15 points and 16 rebounds.

“Just play like I played (Sunday), going for the boards, offensive and defensive boards, and just playing deep (in the paint),” she said.

If the Jayhawks can get some sort of contribution from all nine players — Goodrich, Gardner, Sutherland, Williams, Jackson and guards Natalie Knight, CeCe Harper, Monica Engelman and Asia Boyd — like they did against Nebraska, their surprising postseason might continue to the Sweet 16.

Said Henrickson: “We talked about how good it felt to see our name pop up on the selection show on Monday, and then the only feeling that would top that would be to win, and now the only thing that can top (Sunday) night is to win (again).”


Bangkok_Jayhawk 5 years ago

Men's sports: Become famous for being good. Women's sports: Become famous if you are good AND good looking.

Good thing for Kentucky's Anothony Davis this standard doesn't go both ways!

Red Demon 5 years ago

How do you explain Brittney Griner?

katiekelley 5 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Phoghorn 5 years ago

You obviously suffer from envy of all success. You envy KU's trophy case, and you envy those who have made a good living for themselves. You trolled here yesterday to slam on KU's victory over Purdue. Your avatar is a caricature of Rush Limbaugh, apparently bashing him for his success.

Well guess what? I own two Cadillacs just like Ann Romney. You got a problem with that?

RJ King 5 years ago

There's a difference between condoning something and acknowledging its existence. I think Bangkok was just tellin' it like it is.

We cannot help what we notice. We can ABSOLUTELY choose what we value.

Elena has made an extraordinary choice based on HER values. We can notice her outer beauty, AND value her beautiful spirit at the same time.

cobweb 5 years ago

That wasn't a chauvinist comment, Cupcake.

Phoghorn 5 years ago

BayHawkaholic is absolutely right. To continue with the jelousy theme, my suspicion is the troll herself envies beautiful and successful women in sports including Ms. Donne, Anna Kournikova, Erin Andrews, Holly Rowe, etc.

Michael Thorp 5 years ago

She's not just good looking, she can flat out play. Good luck Lady Jayhawks we'll be pulling for you. RCJHK

phogthedog 5 years ago

We are looking forward to watching you play this evening. Thanks to your stellar performance on Sunday (watching women's game on tv while listening to men play on the radio) I was able to avoid a complete meltdown at the start of the men's game against Purdue. We are proud of your success under tough circumstances. RCJHKU!

Ron Prichard 5 years ago

Wow...that is a pretty amazing story. I totally agree that it is nearly impossible to root against her. I still hope the lady Hawks pull out an upset, but if they don't, it would be poetic to see Delaware meet up with UConn (not even sure if that is possible before NC game). Defninitely a girl that seems to have her priorities in order.

Cody Stumma 5 years ago

Good Luck Girls! You can beat them!

mom_of_three 5 years ago

I can root against her! She did force some shots the other night so we will see.

KGphoto 5 years ago

You probably haven't seen or read her story then. She's pretty awesome.

Just seeing her with her sister and the other "angels" inspires me to be a better person. This woman cares.

I can root for us to win, but I just cannot root against Elena.

Mike Kendall 5 years ago

KG--thanks for the link and I read the story. Makes me really want to watch the game now. I was going to watch it anyway. Nothing on TV tonight anyway---might as well check this game out. Rock Chalk--good luck, ladies!

mom_of_three 5 years ago

I have read and heard about her story. She is still a basketball player and I rooted against her. She has a great outside shot, but doesnt have a quick step. She was beatable, and they beat her. Some of those foul calls looked a little ghostlike to me.

Jeff Coffman 5 years ago

How is a team that goes 30-1 and has arguably one of the top players in the game end up as a 6 seed. Mid-Major or not, that has to be a Top 3 seed or better.

5 years ago

Delaware is actually a No. 3 seed. From the article above:

"Since defeating No. 6 seed Nebraska, 57-49, Sunday night in the first round, No. 11 seed Kansas (20-12) hasn’t had much time to prepare for No. 3 seed Delaware (31-1) and one of the country’s elite players."

kubiggestfan 5 years ago

Go get them Ladies....You can do it, just play your game and play hard.

Tony Bandle 5 years ago

Let's see, for the sake of locker room humor, what headlines I can devise if Delaware ends up facing Baylor.

{Before I am ripped apart as a male, sexist pig, I want to make it clear that I have and always will maintain that, as a gender, women are far superior to men in almost every category except actions that require upper body strength and consuming mass quantities of barley beverages {and there, it's almost a tie!!}.Sure, there are great men and horrible women but as a complete work, the female of the human species is far's a law of physics, like gravity!!}

Beauty and the Beast Godzillette versus Mother Mothra Momma Bear against The Big Blue Hen Sharon Stone to battle Iman The Ebony Eraser challenges the Blonde Bomber The Grinder versus Bella Donna

or, simply,Britney versus doesn't get better than this!!!

Of course, we can avoid all this silliness if the LadyHawks can pull off the upset!!!! Go's been a long time since Kansas was in the NCAA's...let's stick around awhile!!

KGphoto 5 years ago

The Dave Chappelle Show: With guest host Elena Delle Donne

JayHawkFanToo 5 years ago

Lady Hawks are kicking a_s_s!!! KU is ahead 50-43 with 13 minutes to go...keeping fingers crossed.

nwhawkfan 5 years ago

Good D so far on Delle Donne. Just make your shots ladies!

lurkerhawk 5 years ago

Why is there not an active scoreboard for the ladies like there is for the mens?

nwhawkfan 5 years ago

And an Angel shall lead them...

Oklahoma_Hawk 5 years ago

Go Ladies!!! I am pulling for you!!! Glad it is on ESPN3

Oklahoma_Hawk 5 years ago

They are showing the OU - St. Johns game .... of course ......

Dan Harris 5 years ago

Lady Hawks up by 9 with 4 min to go now 11 WOW are you kidding me!!

nwhawkfan 5 years ago

Delle Donne looks beat...just stay tough down the stretch.

jayhawkgrad97 5 years ago

Angel is on fire. Go Lady Hawks!!

Dan Harris 5 years ago

How the HELL was that not a charge! It looks like the refs in the ladies game don't know the difference either!

Dan Harris 5 years ago

How the HELL was that not a charge! It looks like the refs in the ladies game don't know the difference either!

Dan Harris 5 years ago

9 point lead and have the ball with 1:20 to go

JayHawkFanToo 5 years ago

Amazing...the Lady Hawks are going to do it!!! Ahead by 9 points with 1 minute to go

Jordan Gumm 5 years ago

Angel Goodrich does it again!!!! ROCK CHALK Cinderella!!!

nwhawkfan 5 years ago

KU up by 9 with :58 left. No timeouts for Delaware.

nwhawkfan 5 years ago

Yes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111

JayHawkFanToo 5 years ago

Elena Delle DONE!!! This seems to be a year of destiny for KU.

kupride4u 5 years ago

Big win, but I was definitely impressed by Elena. Before you go bashing her, go ahead and google why she left UConn. Seems like a helluva young lady, what a story!

JayHawkFanToo 5 years ago

Isn't she done for the year? How exactly I am bashing her? I am very familiar with her story and she is indeed an incredible young lady. As a player, she is probably one of the top 2 or 3 players in College BBall, no question about it; she could probably start for a few men's teams. Having said that, I am glad KU won and I don't mind celebrating.

mom_of_three 5 years ago

I have said it before - a team that relies on one player for its scoring will not be as successful as one that shares. What stands out is that Delle Donne had 34 points and the closest teammate had 8. Her 3's are impressive, but her drives look forced and she gets bailed out. If Delaware had other outside shooting options, when Delle Donne was triple teamed, she could have passed out, and she did considering her teammates were 1 of 10 or 1 of 12. Maybe they aren't used to scoring. Delaware could have taken advantage and they didn't. KU is quicker, no doubt, which helped them tremendously. Wear them out and wear them down. Delle Donne was also the only Delaware player to play 40. KU's player - Angel played 40. Who would you take 40 minutes to 40 minutes? I will take Angel over anyone any day of the week.

Dan Harris 5 years ago

The men and Women in the SWEET 16!!

JayHawkFanToo 5 years ago

Biggest upset of the tournament so far. Congrats Lady Hawks, job very well done.

Chris Baker 5 years ago

Did forget that the game was on tonight? No coverage of it here at all? This is embarassing.

DaNeille Davis 5 years ago

Wow! Awesome game ladies!! I was totally impressed with your play and game plan!! Proud to be a Jayhawk! Enjoy the ride!! I reside in TN and everyone around here are huge Lady Vol fans! Hope you kick some volunteer a$$!! Rock Chalk!

nwhawkfan 5 years ago

For once, even the Bonnie haters have to admit she had a great game plan. Wore 'em down.

Next up: Pat Summit and Tennessee!

WhoSaidThat 5 years ago

HUGE Win!! Lets Go! Sweeeeeet16!!

bloomingtonjayhawk 5 years ago

Fantastic win for the Lady Jayhawks. Watched the entire game on ESPN. Seems odd that hasn't mentioned the final score yet.

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