Women’s team falls to CAA-leading James Madison; bounces back with win

Courtesy of Delaware Athletics
Senior guard Kiersten West scored a career-high 18 points in Delaware win over Charleston on Sunday.


The Delaware women’s basketball team split a set of games at home this past weekend, losing to James Madison, 56-53, on Friday, and defeating the College of Charleston, 79-51, on Sunday.

The Blue Hens (16-9) were led by junior Nicole Enabosi, who scored 17 and 22 points, respectively, in this weekend’s games. The star forward picked up her 18th and 19th double-doubles on the season, the most in the CAA. She also leads the CAA in points per game (18.4) and rebounds per game (12.4) and is third in field goal percentage (.518).

In Friday’s loss to James Madison (18-8), Delaware struggled to find scoring outside of Enabosi. The Blue Hens shot only 29 percent from the field, but were able to remain competitive due to a 17-5 advantage on the offensive glass. Despite the loss, the Blue Hens demonstrated their ability to compete with the best team in the CAA, particularly on a night in which those players not named Enabosi contributed only 36 points on 14-51 shooting.

Sunday’s win against CAA-worst College of Charleston (6-20) was a necessary bounce-back performance. The Blue Hens shot 46 percent in the win and held Charleston to a lowly 30 percent from the field, while Enabosi tallied 22 points and 14 rebounds and the Blue Hens received a pleasantly surprising performance from senior guard Kiersten West.

On Senior day, West scored a career-high 18 points on 6-9 shooting in 23 minutes. After registering a previous season-high of 10 points against Loyola on Dec. 22, West played in 11 games from Jan. 7 through Feb. 16, averaging just 3.5 points a game, up until her career performance on Sunday.

“She had a great game,” Enabosi said after the game. “That’s one of our secret weapons.”

Delaware will need to develop another secret weapon down the stretch, as they’ve played poorly against the top teams in the CAA (1-3 combined against James Madison, Drexel and Elon). Beyond Enabosi –– who is the likely favorite for conference player of the year –– the Blue Hens have struggled to find consistent scoring.

Sophomore guards Samone DeFreese and Bailey Kargo, while inconsistent, have proven to be capable secondary scoring options. Fellow sophomores Abby Gonzales and Rebecca Lawrence provide scoring depth, while freshman forward Lizzie O’Leary will likely figure into the rotation off the bench come tournament time.

Yet the Blue Hens have been stellar defensively all season long, only allowing opponents to eclipse the 70-point plateau six times this season. Over the past four games, Head Coach Natasha Adair’s team has allowed an average of just 52 points per game. The defensive identity her team embodies, along with the dominance of Enabosi and timely scoring from supporting pieces, could make the Blue Hens a dangerous team in the CAA tournament.

Of the Blue Hens’ four final regular season games, two will be against Drexel and James Madison, teams that both sit above Delaware on the CAA leaderboard. The Blue Hens will also play William & Mary and Towson, teams they’ve both beaten.

If the season ended today, the Blue Hens would receive a bye in the first round of the CAA tournament and then face Northeastern in round two. Delaware is 0-2 against the Huskies this season.

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