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Regan Richardson, Duke rallied after Ohio State, reaches the Sweet 16

Regan Richardson, Duke rallied after Ohio State, reaches the Sweet 16

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Regan Richardson scored 28 points and added seven rebounds as No. 7 seed Duke rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat No. 2 Ohio State 75-63 on Sunday and earn a berth in the Sweet 16 of the women's NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018.

Richardson hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give Duke a 59-57 lead with 5:21 left. That put the Blue Devils up 13-2, putting the game out of reach.

Ashlon Jackson scored 13 points and Tina Meyer added 11 for the Blue Devils (22-11), who advance to play the winner of Syracuse-UConn in Portland, Oregon.

“We're very proud of the way the team played today,” said Richardson, who averaged 11.9 points per game on the season. “I think we were down by 16, and we didn't let that bother us. We stayed together and were able to climb back up.”

Duke's upset win was only the second time in the tournament that a lower-seeded team won. The top seeds were 31-1 in the opening round.

Coty McMahon led the Buckeyes with 27 points. Most of them were in the paint. Ohio State attempted just nine 3-pointers and didn't make one until 12.2 seconds remained in the game.

Celeste Taylor, who transferred to Ohio State from Duke before the season, scored just six points before fouling out with 6:38 left in the game.

“They played better,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “They deserved to win. We didn't play well today.”

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Ohio State's pressing defense caused Duke problems early as the Buckeyes built a 16-point lead. But the Blue Devils came back strong. A 12-2 run cut the Buckeyes' lead to 36-32 at halftime.

“These guys never backed down,” Duke coach Kara Lawson said. “In the huddle, they were locked in. They kept their confidence, even though we felt like we were out of the gym at the start of the game. We came back with possession.”

The Buckeyes kind of fell apart, McGuff said.

“We really took good shots early in the game in the first quarter and were rebounding the ball with energy and discipline,” McGuff said. “Then as the game went on, we got out of sync on offense, and Duke was playing really good defense, so they had a hand in that. Then we really fell apart with our own rebounding.”