What we learned: Duke's offense played its best game of the season to upset Ohio State

What chalk? After higher seeds went 31-1 in the first round of the women’s NCAA tournament, Duke delivered an upset in the first game of the second round Sunday.

The Blue Devils advanced to their first Sweet 16 since 2018 after rallying from 16 down to eliminate No. 2 seed Ohio State in Columbus.

We’re tracking all the action of Sunday’s second-round games, which are all on ESPN networks and the ESPN App.

Check out where every team landed as we reseeded the 32 remaining teams in the field. And be sure to check out everything we learned Friday on Day 1 and our Day 2 takeaways from Saturday.


Did Duke just change the makeup of this NCAA tournament? After higher seeds went 31-1 over the first two days, the most chalk the tournament has seen since it expanded to 64 teams in 1994, the very first game of the second round produced a big upset, as Duke stunned the Big Ten regular-season champion Buckeyes in Columbus. After trailing by as many as 16 points in the second quarter and going more than 11 minutes without a field goal in the first half, the Blue Devils took complete control. They scored 12 of the final 14 points of the second quarter and then completely dominated the second half.

The Buckeyes’ shooting percentage plummeted to 28% after halftime, preventing them from using their full-court press. Without it, and mounting foul trouble, Ohio State didn’t have a Plan B. The Buckeyes, who were also badly outrebounded, made just one 3-pointer, and it came when the outcome was already decided. Meanwhile, Duke made 61.9% of its shots in the second half, playing perhaps its best offensive game of the season.

What it means for Duke: The Blue Devils are a team built on defense and offensive balance. In this NCAA tournament, they might have also found a superstar. Reigan Richardson is not only Duke’s best player — she is one of the best in the entire tournament. Against Ohio State, she scored 28 points on 11-for-18 shooting. That follows a 25-point outing on 10-of-18 shooting against Richmond in the first round, a game in which Duke also made a furious comeback after trailing by nine at the half. Richardson — the first Duke player with back-to-back 25-point games in the tournament since Alana Beard in 2003 — is a sophomore, and coach Kara Lawson plays five freshmen, making Duke one of the youngest teams in the NCAA tournament. They are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2018.

What it means for Ohio State: Buckeyes coach Kevin McGuff predicted that rebounding would be the key to this game. He was right. His team lost the battle on the glass 38-20. After last year’s Elite Eight trip, this is a huge disappointment for the Buckeyes. In three postseason games, they made just 28.5% of their 3-pointers. Cotie McMahon, whose season has been up and down, played one of her best games of the season with 27 points, but she got little help. Jacy Sheldon was the only other Buckeye in double figures with 13. Now McGuff says goodbye to Sheldon, Celeste Taylor, Rebeka Mikulasikova and possibly Rikki Harris, adding to the disappointment of bowing out of the NCAA tournament so early. — Charlie Creme

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