The University of Delaware women’s basketball program extended its winning streak by the slimmest of margins on Sunday afternoon. In front of 5,098 fans, the largest crowd to ever watch a women’s basketball game at the Bob Carpenter Center, the Hens played their worst game to date in 2013. UD was outrebounded 55-35, shot only 37 percent from the floor and missed seven free throws. Still, Delaware displayed just enough to grit to survive with a 61-60 victory, its 19th consecutive win overall and its 36th straight triumph in CAA play.
“Games like that are why coaches get grey hair,” Hens head coach Tina Martin said. “That’s why they lose their hair and that’s why coaches sometimes even lose their jobs. It’s really, really frustrating. I went in there (to the locker room) and said, ‘there were spurts in this game where we did what we need to do, but we are playing very spurty right now. We’ve got to put together how we are capable of playing.’ So, am I frustrated? Certainly I’m frustrated. Am I happy we won? I’m relieved that we won.”
Most disconcerting for Martin was her team’s inability to be productive on the glass. JMU finished Sunday with a ridiculous 30 offensive rebounds. On one trip midway through the second half, the Dukes grabbed nine consecutive offensive boards. It certainly was not pretty and it drove Martin nuts.
“It was very frustrating because I’m sure our fans went home and probably punched a couple of holes in their wall screaming at us to rebound,” Martin joked. “I think some of the fans could probably box out better than we did today. We were content to jump with a very athletic team. We talked about their athleticism at every position. They’ve got more foot speed and we knew they could run down long rebounds on the three-point shot. Those are hustle plays; putting a body on somebody and watching the flight of the ball instead of hitting somebody.”
If there was a silver lining it was UD’s defense. On that trip when JMU grabbed nine straight offensive rebounds, the Dukes came up empty on 10 consecutive shots. The Dukes missed 16 straight field goal attempts at one point in the second half. The Hens held James Madison to 31 percent shooting from the field and 17 percent from three-point range. With those kinds of numbers, Delaware had to be doing something right defensively.
Still, according to Martin, it did not make up for the other mistakes committed by the 18th-ranked Hens.
“We did everything in our power to give that game away, and that’s the thing that’s frustrating,” Martin said. “I’m really happy we won because I don’t like JMU and the feeling is mutual I’m sure. The things we did wrong though are all things we were doing at the beginning of the year and that we can improve on now. Maybe it is because we are getting a little complacent because we’ve won a lot, but whatever it is, we need to get out of it.
“The bottom line is; these kinds of mental mistakes we made today are unacceptable. Now don’t get me wrong, I love these kids –they are like my daughters- I just don’t understand what we were thinking.”