Who? The Fighting Blue Hens of Delaware. Yes, even the men. I have the mental image of a guy from Delaware and a woman from South Carolina sharing a drink in poultry confusion solidarity.
What? Named for the state bird. (We'll ignore the cockfighting history.) YoUDee claims heritage back to the Revolutionary era (hmm, wonder if we have any familial acquaintances in common? Nah, my family never got that far south.)
Where? Newark, Delaware. Not to be confused with the one in New Jersey; while the one in New Jersey is sort of pronounced "Nerk" like a strange nasal sound, the one in Delaware is pronounced new-ARK, presumably with diction that would make finishing schools happy.
When? March 11th, at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Why? They won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
How? Drexel threatened early, but Delaware pulled away in the second half of a spirited game to win 59-43. Elena Delle Donne had 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Fightin' Blue Hens.
Surprise? The polar opposite of a surprise. Nationally ranked and undefeated in conference, everyone expected Delaware to make a giant splash.
RPI (as of 3/11): 8
SOS (as of 3/11): 67
Record: 30-1 (18-0 Colonial)
Good wins: At St. Bonaventure, Penn State.
Bad losses: At Maryland, by default, but that's not a bad loss.
Who's running this show? Tina Martin, since 1996. An assistant at Seton Hall when Seton Hall was actually really good. That's a while.
Extra, Extra! The News-Journal.
First, there is the obvious and the surreal: junior forward Elena Delle Donne. 27.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, 52% shooting from the field, 41% from beyond the arc, 89.2% from the line, more than two blocks, a positive A/TO... if you saw these in a video game, you'd assume someone had hacked the game data. (And there are still ways she can get better. Scary thought, yes?)
Delle Donne is a magnet for both defenders and would-be teammates, with four transfers in the rotation. Junior guard Lauren Carra is a solid second option, especially from beyond the arc, while junior forward Danielle Parker pulls down 7.5 rebounds per game. The players around Delle Donne are going to have to continue hitting the open looks they get after she's doubled or tripled- but if it comes down to free throws, they're in pretty good shape.