UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Elena Delle Donne scored 28 points, and No. 15 Delaware held off Drexel 59-56 Sunday to win its second straight Colonial Athletic Association title and extend its school-record winning streak to 25 games.
The victory earned the Blue Hens (30-3) an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Delaware hosts the first and second rounds and will almost certainly open at home.
The top-seeded Blue Hens led by 46-29 with 14:35 left before the Dragons (22-10) rallied to go in front 56-55 with 1:10 remaining. After Trumae Lucas made two free throws for Delaware with 44.4 seconds to go, Drexel's Abby Redick was called for traveling.
Delle Donne made two free throws with 9.9 seconds left, and Drexel never got off a final shot. Soon after that, the Blue Hens lined up to cut down the net.
Taylor Wootton scored 21 for the third-seeded Dragons and Hollie Mershon had 18. Drexel also lost to Delaware in last year's championship game.
Delaware let a 12-point cushion dwindle to three at halftime, then opened the second half with a 16-2 run. Delle Donne – the tournament MVP – started the surge with a three-point play and added two layups, the last to provide the Blue Hens a 17-point lead.
But Drexel used a 13-0 run to get to 48-45, making Delaware sweat it out in its 42nd straight victory against CAA foes.
Delle Donne scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting to stake Delaware to a 30-27 halftime lead.
The Blue Hens led 6-5 before Delaware's Akeema Richards popped a 15-footer and Delle Donne made a baseline jumper and a 3-pointer to spark a 15-4 run that included two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws by Lucas.
After two free throws by Richards made it 28-20 with 4:42 left, Delaware went scoreless until Kayla Miller made a layup off an airball by Lucas just before the buzzer.