VIDEO: COMMENTARY: Fantastic era of Delaware basketball comes to a tearful end
The goal was to make it through Saturday's post-game press conference without crying. It almost happened.
But when Lauren Carra was posed a question about whether it's easier said than done to avoid tears after the 67-62 loss which ended the careers of 7 Blue Hens seniors, she could only muster the words "It definitely is. it's hard right now, but..."
Carra then put her head in a towel, clearly shaken by the moment. In classic "UD Hoopsquad fashion" Danielle Parker then proceeded to finish answering the question: "It's easier said than done."
It felt like the perfect summation of the most decorated group in University of Delaware Women's Basketball. For a group that has a lot of fun, clearly this basketball game meant a lot to them. You don't cry otherwise.
They also have each other's backs. Elena mentioned Friday during media day that her teammates were like "older sisters" because they always looked out for her. That status isn't just reserved from All-Americans.
Tina Martin said the brightest part of the season was "the character of my kids." I have some really talented kids. I look forward to walking on the practice floor every single day. They are kids of high character. These seven seniors are model citizens; everything you want in a student-athlete. I have a tremendous amount of pride now."
The accomplishments of his group could fill a best-selling novel.
First there are the team milestones: The back-to-back perfect 21-0 runs through the CAA. Victories over teams from the ACC, Big East, Big XII, A10, Big 10, and Conference USA. The first-ever NCAA Tournament victory against UALR last year in Little Rock. A school-record 31 wins last season, only to be eclipsed by 32 wins this season. Winning two tournament games including being part of the best atmosphere in Bob Carpenter Center when they defeated North Carolina last Tuesday.
Then the individual accolades: 3,039 points for Elena Delle Donne, 5th all-time in NCAA History. 1,000-plus points for Carra and Parker. 1,000 rebounds for Delle Donne and Parker.
Then the battles: Kayla Miller's recovery from back surgery for a herniated disk. Elena Delle Donne's battle with Lyme Disease. Parker's ACL injury during a practice in 2008. Mangled fingers on several players during this year's tournament run.
In the end they persevered, and most of the time they did it with huge smiles on their face. They will undoubtably go down as one of the most favorite teams, if not the most favorite, in Delaware history.
Elena said "I've met amazing teammates, great coaches, and friends who I will have for the rest of my life. This is awesome. We've made a lot of history for Delaware and made our fans really proud."
Of course, their stories aren't done. Miller already graduated with an exercise science major and Delle Donne in human services. Parker will graduate in sociology, Carra in history education, Chelsea Craig in exercise science, and Trumae Lucas in history.
Perhaps the first thing Trumae can story when she's finished at Delaware will be the history of what her team accomplished, which is something that no one in Blue Hen Nation will ever forget.
And crying about it being over is just fine.
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