Richardson scores 25 as Duke rallies in second half to beat Richmond 72-61 in women's March Madness

Richardson scores 25 as Duke rallies in second half to beat Richmond 72-61 in women's March Madness

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Reigan Richardson scored 25 points and had seven rebounds as Duke rallied in the second half to overtake Richmond 72-61 in a first-round women's NCAA Tournament game Friday.

No. 7 seed Duke (21-11) advances to play Ohio State on Sunday, following the Buckeyes’ 80-57 rout of Maine in a first-round contest earlier in the day..

The Blue Devils battled back from a nine-point deficit at halftime, going ahead 42-41 with 4:42 left in the third quarter and never relinquishing the lead again.

“This is what the tournament is about,” Duke coach Kara Lawson said. “You know teams are really good and you have to make adjustments and you kind of have to forget about that quarter or that half and execute.”

Ashlon Jackson added 14 points and Kennedy Brown had 10 for Duke.

Grace Townsend led Richmond (29-6) with 18 points, Addie Budnik had 17 and Maggie Doogan added 15.

“They were just so fun to coach here these last few weeks,” Richmond coach Aaron Roussell. “I don't want that final score to indicate or let these guys think there was anything other a herculean effort today.”

Richmond hit 8 of 10 3-point tries in the first half, with Budnik going 4 for 5 and Maggie Doogan hitting 3 of 4. The Spiders shot 58% in the half and led Duke 37-28 at the break. But they cooled off in the second half, hitting just 2 of 8 from 3-point range.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Lawson said. “(Richmond) did a great job of executing, to be honest with you. We had far too many defensive breakdowns. That led to eight 3s at the half, and that really was the issue. Just proud of our group for making the adjustment and in the second half to hold them to just two 3s. I thought that changed the game.”


The Spiders could hardly miss in the first half, shooting 58% to Duke’s 39%. It looked like a March Madness upset in the making. But Richmond couldn’t sustain it, shooting just 38% from the floor in the second half, including 2 for 8 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, Duke made 6 of their 11 3-point tries in the second half after going just 1 for 9 in the first half.


Richmond wanted a better showing against Duke considering what happened last time. The two teams met in the season opener back on Nov. 1 with Richardson scoring 28 on the way to an 83-53 rout by the Blue Devils.


Ohio State guard Celeste Taylor will face her old team in the next round. Taylor played two years at Texas and then two years at Duke before playing her fifth year in Columbus this season. She's played in every game and averaged 10.2 points per game as a Buckeye.


Duke will play No. 2 seed Ohio State on Sunday to determine who goes to Portland for the Sweet 16 round.


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