Delaware used a 24-7 run over the final nine minutes Saturday and collected a 71-42 victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on day one of the UCF Thanksgiving Classic in Orlando, Fla.
The Cougars (1-5) were led in scoring by Allyssa Decker with 11 points. Tierny Austin and CoCo Moore added nine points. Austin nearly had a double-double with 11 rebounds.
"She (Decker) made the most of the touches we gave her," said SIUE coach Paula Buscher.
The Blue Hens improved to 5-1 with a 51-point effort in the second half after holding just a six-point lead at 20-14 over the Cougars at halftime.
"In the first half we battled defensively," said Buscher. "As poorly as we shot, we continued to defend and were right there."
SIUE outrebounded Delaware 24-21 in the first half but were trying to fight through a 2-for-24 shooting performance over the first 20 minutes.
Kelsey Buchanan powered the Blue Hens with 15 of her game-high 17 points in the second half. Akeema Richards added 12 of her 16 points in the second half as well.
"Our defense just broke down in the second half. We didn't block out well enough and that hurt us," Buscher said.
SIUE continues the UCF Thanksgiving Classic Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. CT meeting against host Central Florida.
"We need to play with a whole another level of intensity," Buscher said.