NEWARK, Del. (AP) — Tianna Hawkins had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and No. 9 Maryland hounded All-American Elena Delle Donne in her return from an illness as the Terrapins beat Delaware 69-53 on Thursday night.
Delle Donne played for just the second time this season after missing a month with Lyme Disease. She finished with 19 points and six rebounds but was 7 for 23 from the floor in 34 minutes. She also missed the first three games of the season.
Alyssa Thomas added 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Katie Rutan scored 13 for the Terps (8-2), who won their fourth straight game.
Hawkins scored 12 straight points to help Maryland open a 43-31 lead over Delaware (5-3) with just over two minutes gone in the second half. With 13:17 left, the Terps led 50-37.
Delle Donne had eight points and Danielle Parker had four to help the Blue Hens pull to 52-49 with just over eight minutes to play, but Maryland closed with a 17-4 run.
Lauren Carra had 16 points for Delaware, which snapped a four-game winning streak.
Delle Donne’s minutes were carefully monitored by coach Tina Martin. After playing the first six minutes she took a seat and returned three minutes later.
After missing so much time, Delle Donne was obviously rusty, missing seven of her first eight shots — two of them blocked. Her teammates helped keep the Blue Hens in the game, and after Delle Donne scored on a scoop shot with just over six minutes left in the first half, Maryland called time out and the All-American went to the bench for the second time in the half.
While she rested, Delaware was outscored 7-2, and with Maryland ahead 33-26 with just over four minutes left in the half, Delle Donne returned. At halftime, the Terrapins led 35-28 and Delle Donne had eight points in 15 minutes.
The game was played before a sellout crowd of 5,089, the largest crowd in Delaware women’s history.
Since its loss to No. 2 Connecticut, Maryland has won its last three games by an average of nearly 40 points.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)