VIDEO: Hens celebrate a long journey to CAA titles
After 10 years of frustration in the CAA Tournament, Delaware earned their 2nd straight celebration at the Show Place Arena with their 59-56 win over Drexel.
When Delaware joined the Colonial Athletic Association in 2001-2002, they were fresh off of their only America East Conference championship, but quickly found the waters choppy with Wendy Larry's powerful Old Dominion team ruling the conference.
The Blue Hens twice played for the conference title in their first four years in the league, but lost by 8 at Old Dominion in 2003, and then in overtime when Delaware was the regular season champion in 2005.
Delaware then was relegated to semifinal defeats the next two years, including the NCAA at-large bid team which lost to fellow at-large James Madison.
Tina Martin's team would hit rock bottom a year later, going 7-24 in the first of two 9th place CAA finishes.
Then came the class which are all now seniors. Now familiar names like Elena Delle Donne, Lauren Carra, and Danielle Parker entered into the mix, and they returned to the semifinals in 2010, only to lose to ODU.
2011 saw Elena Delle Donne miss time due to injuries, but despite having to play in the opening round, the team won 3 games in 3 days to set up a final showdown with James Madison. The Dukes won that game 67-61 in Upper Marlboro, but after a WNIT loss, a hungry team stepped onto the court in 2012 and handled business against ODU, UNCW, and Drexel to win the title.
This year's road wasn't always easy, as they struggled to make shots against UNCW, and lost two big leads in the final to Drexel, but if you're wondering why the celebration was so sweet for Delaware, it was because the road was long and tiring.
Delaware will enter the NCAA Tournament at 30-3, with Tina Martin at a school-record 339 wins, including 102 the last four years,
Copyright © Apr 18, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
Advanced permission from Delmarva Broadcasting Company required for publication or rebroadcast.