Local college notebook: Pollard nears 3rd place on Hornet women’s all-time scoring list

NaJai Pollard, the Preseason Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year, is living up to that hype. She’s averaging 22.4 points per game and 10.9 rebounds a game. Submitted photo

DOVER — Everyone around the Delaware State women’s basketball team is keeping track of NaJai Pollard’s point totals.

The senior has been moving up the DelState all-time scoring list. She currently sits just 31 points away from third-place all-time.

Perhaps the only person on the team who isn’t keeping track is Pollard herself.

“I just play ball, honestly,” Pollard said. “I don’t pay attention to that or any social media stuff. All I know is I’m almost third. That’s it.”

Pollard, the Preseason Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year, is living up to that hype. She’s averaging 22.4 points per game and 10.9 rebounds a game this year.

NaJai Pollard

If she can score 31 points today at Howard (2 p.m.), she’ll have more points than anyone in DSU women’s history except two players. Pollard enters with 1,729 points.

Needless to say, Pollard carries the load for an undersized and undermanned roster.

The Hornets have only had six or seven players healthy for most of the season. This past weekend they were able to play eight players in a single game for the first time in a month.

Pollard has played at least 39 of 40 minutes in five of DelState’s last six games. She played the full 40 minutes in three of those games.

‘It’s challenging but I wouldn’t call it hard,” Pollard said. “I believe God wouldn’t give me something that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish. I try to take it head-on.”

It’s no secret for the opposition Pollard is the go-to player for DSU, yet she’s still able to put up double-figures stats. She’s been DSU’s leading scorer in 15 of its 17 games this year and was the team’s top rebounder in every game except one.

“She’s like James Harden,” said DSU first-year coach Dave Caputo. “For us to win, she needs to score. There’s a lot of pressure on her. She’s getting double-teamed, triple-teamed every night. She always rises to the challenge. She’s putting up big number.”

Pollard is also already in third on the DSU all-time rebounding list with 931. She is 50 rebounds way from second place.

She’s already a two-time All-MEAC performer and won the MEAC Rookie of the Year award as a freshman.

Pollard doesn’t want to stop there. She said she aims to play professionally overseas when she graduates DSU.

Hens add PSU LB

Penn State linebacker Dae’lun Darien announced this week that he’ll be transferring to Delaware.

A 6-foot-4, 223-pounder from Baltimore, Darien has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He originally was signed as a receiver out of Dunbar High, where he was considered a top-30 recruit in Maryland as a senior. He played in 15 games for the Nittany Lions.

“The staff at the University of Delaware is giving me an unbelievable opportunity to finish living my dreams and earn TWO degrees!,” Darien posted on social media. “I can not wait to get on campus!”

Notes

• The Wesley College men’s basketball squad will be trying for its first three-game winning streak of the season when it plays a 3 p.m. game at Immaculata today. Both teams are an identical 3-3 in the Atlantic East, 9-10 overall.

The Wolverines have back-to-back games three times this season.

• Wesley’s exhibition game at Division I Princeton on Sunday at noon is being shown on ESPN-plus. The online service is $4.95 for a month’s subscription or free for a one-week trial subscription.

• Delaware safety Nasir Adderley, considered a potential NFL draft pick, will suit up for the North in today’s Senior Bowl. The contest, being played in Mobile, Ala., starts at 1:30 p.m.

• Delaware linebacker/safety Ray Jones had an interception and long return in the Dream Bowl, a college all-star game, last week.

• The Delaware men’s basketball will try to regroup from last Saturday’s painful loss to Towson when it hosts Drexel at 2 p.m. today. The Blue Hens wasted an 18-point in losing to the Tigers.

Ironically, the last time Delaware played Drexel, last season, it squandered a 34-point advantage to set an NCAA record. The Hens (5-3 CAA, 13-8 overall) are still in second place in the CAA.

• Former DelState basketball standout Robert Vanderhost will be inducted into the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame next month.

Vanderhost played two seasons after earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star while serving for the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam. He was a two-time all-CIAA selection, a 1,000-point scorer and was named DSU’s MVP in the 1969-70 season.

• University of Delaware spirit teams recently won three national titles in different categories at the UCA/UDA College National Championships at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It’s the first time the Blue Hens came home with three first-place trophies.

Delaware has won 18 national titles, including at least one in 11 straight years, in the event for cheerleading squads, dance teams and mascots.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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