Kansas floats by dismayed Delaware
Jayhawks advance to Sweet Sixteen for first time since 1998
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Elena Delle Donne and Delaware are done, ousted from the NCAA women’s tournament by Kansas.
Angel Goodrich scored 27 points to lead 11th-seeded Kansas past Delle Donne, the nation’s leading scorer, and the third-seeded Blue Hens with a 70-64 victory Tuesday night.
The Jayhawks (21-12) move to the second weekend of the tournament for the first time since 1998. They’ll face Tennessee on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
They advanced by rallying in the second half behind Goodrich, who fell one short of her career high in scoring. The junior was 12 of 21 from the field, 3 of 6 on 3-pointers, and also added six assists.
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Aishah Sutherland added 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Chelsea Gardner had 10 points for Kansas.
Delle Donne finished with 34 points for the Blue Hens (31-2), who had their 21-game winning streak snapped.
The standout junior, who had 39 points in an opening-round win against Arkansas-Little Rock, was harassed throughout by a swarming Kansas defense. She was double- and triple-teamed at times as the Jayhawks did their best to keep her from finding a comfort zone.
Delle Donne finished 9 of 18 from the field, 15 of 18 from the free-throw line, and also had 10 rebounds.
Goodrich, meanwhile, had no such problems finding open space while running the point for Kansas.
The Jayhawks in the Sweet Sixteen seemed improbable when the team’s leading scorer Carolyn Davis went down for the season with a knee injury on Feb. 12.
Kansas lost six of eight to end the regular season and was anything but a certainty to make the tournament, but the Jayhawks have made the most of their stay so far.
Delaware led 37-31 at halftime, but Kansas took control early in second half behind Natalie Knight. The freshman, who scored only five points in the Jayhawks opening-round win against Nebraska, was scoreless at halftime before scoring eight points in a row at one point to put Kansas up 50-43.
That capped a 19-6 run to open the second half for the Jayhawks, and it was part of a 13-0 run that put them up 53-43 after a free throw by Gardner.
Delle Donne took control at that point with Delaware’s season on the line. She scored 12 consecutive points, the last three on free throws after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt, to pull the Blue Hens within 59-57.
They were never able to get closer, however, as Goodrich answered with nine of Kansas’ next 11 points. Her last during the stretch came after a steal and layup on the fast break to put the Jayhawks up 68-57 -- their largest lead of the game.
Delaware was unable to get closer than six points after that.