- Kate Fagan, Columnist, espnW.com
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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Quick reaction to Kentucky's 69-62 win over Delaware:
Overview: Despite a stellar performance from their star player, the Blue Hens just couldn't overtake the relentless Wildcats. Kentucky built a lead of as many as 16 points early in the second half, but Delaware, as it is known to do, fought its way back. Delaware point-forward Elena Delle Donne scored 33 points and continually kept her team in the game. (Delle Donne scored 17 in the first half, 16 in the second.)
Turning point: With just more than 2 minutes remaining in the game, Kentucky guard Kastine Evans hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key that finally put the game out of reach. At that moment, Delaware was down only two points and was desperate for a defensive stop. Evans' shot from behind the arc sealed the deal.
Key player: Kentucky point guard Jennifer O'Neill provided the X factor spark for Kentucky. She averages just more than 10 points per game, but delivered a team-high 19 points against Delaware. She also hit four 3-pointers, including a couple that kept the Blue Hens at arm's length.
Key stat: Delaware shot only 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. This was a game in which the Blue Hens needed some strong outside shooting to open up the court. Also crucial was the fact that Kentucky took nine more shots than Delaware, resulting in four more made field goals for the Wildcats.
What's next: Kentucky moves on to the Elite Eight in the Bridgeport Regional. The Wildcats face Connecticut in the regional finals for the second consecutive season. Delaware, which was playing in the Sweet 16 for the first time, ends its season at 32-4. Elena Delle Donne finishes her NCAA career with 3,039 points, which ranks fifth in Division I history. She passed Maya Moore, Cheryl Miller and Chamique Holdsclaw on Saturday.
Kentucky held off Delaware to advance to the Elite Eight.