HARRISONBURG, Va. -- National scoring-leader Elena Delle Donne of Delaware scored 54 points, including a 3-pointer to force overtime, but Dawn Evans and James Madison pulled away in the extra period to win 88-83 Thursday night.
Delle Donne's total was the highest in Division I this season, besting the 49-point game Brittany Carter had against Sacramento State in November.
Delle Donne, the 6-foot-5 freshman who gave up a basketball scholarship at Connecticut and then enrolled at Delaware (16-9, 8-6 Colonial Athletic Association), was 18 of 28 from the field, including seven 3-pointers, and 11 of 12 free throws. She scored 31 in the second half, and hit a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"They played great defense, and to tell the truth, I felt like this team was one of the teams that made me work the hardest for my baskets -- especially in the first half," Delle Donne said.
Dukes coach Kenny Brooks said his team was practically helpless to stop Delle Donne.
"She's almost unguardable," he said. "I looked at my assistants at one time during the game and said, 'Now I know what it's like to play against Kobe,' because she was just making everything."
Evans, whose 24.8-point scoring average coming in was 1 point behind Delle Donne's, matched her career high with 38 points to lead James Madison (19-6, 9-5). Evans shot 9 for 29.
Delle Donne set school and conference records, and broke the James Madison Convocation Center mark of 45 points, set by Navy's David Robinson on Jan. 10, 1987.
"It was the greatest individual performance I've ever coached," Blue Hens coach Tina Martin said. "And yes, we were trying to get her the ball any way possible because when you're in a zone like that, there's only a few people ... that can shoot with literally two people hanging on her.
"James Madison was draped all over her and she was still scoring."