High hopes for hoops
SPORTS |Delaware’s varsity basketball teams entered the current season with big expectations for success, as the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll picked the men’s team to finish second in the conference and the women’s team to finish first.
Both teams opened play in early November and will begin their conference games in January, when the men take on Old Dominion in an away game Jan. 5 and the women play George Mason at home Jan. 10. The CAA tournaments begin March 9 in Richmond for the men and March 14 in Upper Marlboro, Md., for the women.
After a record-setting season in which the Blue Hen women went undefeated in league play and claimed the conference tournament title, it was no surprise that the team was selected in the preseason poll to reclaim its crown. Additionally, senior All-American Elena Delle Donne was named the CAA Preseason Player of the Year after earning league Player of the Year honors last spring, while fellow senior Lauren Carra was selected to the CAA Preseason Second Team.
Delaware—which finished last season with a 31-2 record, climbed as high as seventh in the national rankings and advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round following its first postseason win in school history—returns all five starters this year.
The men’s preseason second-place selection, behind league favorite Drexel, is the highest Delaware has ever placed in the preseason poll. Jamelle Hagins and Devon Saddler were selected to the Preseason All-Conference first team.
Last year, the Blue Hen men had an 18-14 season in which Delaware posted its highest win total since 2000-01 and finished fifth in the CAA with a 12-6 mark, the most wins since UD joined the conference. Delaware won nine consecutive games from February through early March 2012, advanced to the CAA Tournament quarterfinals and earned a bid to the College Basketball Invitational.
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