Top basketball star chooses Delaware and family

WILMINGTON - December 6, 2011

The University of Delaware Women's Basketball team couldn't have done it without their 6'5 star Elena Della Donne who leads the entire country with 30 points per game.

Delaware Head Coach Tina Martin does not mince words when talking about the shooting star.

"You're going to make some of my former players angry at me right now, but I think that they'll smile, too, because I tell it like it is. She is the best player I've ever coached," Martin said.

The star player says it's all about hard work.

"I like that spotlight and it's something that motivates me," Delle Donne said. So how did Delle Donne end up at Delaware?

That's where this story takes an interesting twist.

Out of Ursuline Academy in Wilmington she went to the University of Connecticut, one of the most storied programs in women's college basketball.

But she left after just two days.

"People thought I was absolutely insane for passing up that opportunity and people might still think that, but I don't regret it," Delle Donne said.

She was homesick and missed her sister Lizzie, who is blind, deaf, and suffers from autism and cerebral palsy.

"To say it's tough on us would be very selfish because I can't even imagine what she goes through and the battle that she fights everyday just to get through a day is incredible," Delle Donne said.

So Delle Donne gave up hoops for a year in 2008 and enrolled at Delaware, where she even played volleyball.

But now the junior is back on the basketball court, close to home and close to her sister.

That is the case wherever she goes as Delle Donne has a tattoo of Lizzies' name on her ribs. It is a constant reminder of her favorite teammate.

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