NEWARK, Del. — Elena Delle Donne scored 33 points in her final home game, and Delaware rallied past foul-plagued North Carolina 78-69 last night to advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.
The sixth-seeded Blue Hens (32-3) trailed 50-42 with 15:31 left before coming back to extend their school-record winning streak to 27 games and eliminate No. 3 seed North Carolina (29-7).
Delaware will next travel to Connecticut to face either Dayton or Kentucky.
Vice President Joe Biden was among those in the second straight sellout crowd at Delaware’s compact arena.
Most of the fans wore royal blue, yellow, or a combination of both.
Most of them were standing during the final 5 minutes of the game, when it became apparent the Blue Hens and Delle Donne would be playing at least once more this season.
After the final buzzer, Delaware players gathered at midcourt and waved to their fans in appreciation as most in the crowd chanted, “Let’s Go Hens!”
Delle Donne missed 18 of 28 field goal tries, but the 6-foot-5 senior went 11 for 13 at the line and now has 3,006 points during a sensational career in her home state. Trumae Lucas scored 20 for the Blue Hens and Danielle Parker contributed 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Waltiea Rolle scored 23 points for the Tar Heels, but the 6-6 senior was in foul trouble for much of the second half. UNC point guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who scored a career-high 30 points against Albany in the tournament opener, finished with four points on 1-for-13 shooting. The Tar Heels were called for 24 fouls compared to 13 for the Blue Hens.
Bush witnesses Griner’s 3 dunks
WACO, Texas — Former President George W. Bush was among the packed crowd attending Brittney Griner’s final home game at Baylor last night.
Bush visited the Baylor and Florida State teams in their respective locker rooms before the NCAA tournament game.