'Speaks to the tradition': No. 9 Duke women's basketball puts on defensive masterclass at Boston College for milestone 1,000th win

Reigan Richardson drives for the score in Duke's road demolition of Boston College.
Reigan Richardson drives for the score in Duke's road demolition of Boston College.

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.—The Blue Devils can add membership in the 1,000-win club to their long list of achievements.

In front of a sizable Duke crowd Thursday night at Conte Forum, the Blue Devils defeated Boston College 68-27, the second-fewest points allowed in an ACC game ever. Duke’s second-straight road win also marks the program’s 1,000th victory. Despite the loud cheers of 2,347 fans packing the stands, the Blue Devils held Boston College to its lowest point total of the season and to several scoring droughts, including a 15-0 Duke run that lasted nearly 10 minutes through the second and third quarters.

“Just a great accomplishment for Duke,” head coach Kara Lawson said of the Blue Devils' 1,000th win after the game. “Obviously, when you coach at Duke, you know, it’s way bigger than any one person, any one player. I think it just speaks to the tradition, and the level of success and the type of people that we have in our program. Obviously, I’ve only been here for a year. So we’re making a little contribution to that.”

Sophomore guard Reigan Richardson had just scored her 12th point on her fourth-straight layup for Duke (21-3, 11-2 in the ACC) in the first half, matching her season-high and giving her team a 32-14 halftime lead. Though the 5-foot-11 guard only had two second-half points, her output on both sides of the ball was a catalyst in what was one of Duke’s most satisfying wins all season. 

In the second half, Richardson grabbed a lob mid-air from senior guard Elizabeth Balogun that she quickly turned into a layup. Though she would sub out for the rest of the third quarter, Richardson’s teammates continued her efforts in the final two quarters to grow the team’s lead from 36 points with 7:03 left in the third quarter to 41 points by the final buzzer.

The Eagles (14-13, 4-10) attempted to break through Duke’s shatterproof defense throughout the game, but ultimately struggled. The Blue Devils, who shot 30-of-65 from the field, limited the Eagles to 18.4% shooting on 49 attempts. The Eagles turned the ball over 25 times, and their opponents scored 23 points off turnovers. 

“I think our group is just really committed on [the defensive] end,” said Lawson. “Again, you’re trying to not let them score. That’s obviously the game. But we don’t set out for points, goals, per se. They just kept locked in. And I was really proud of the fourth quarter to be honest.”

Boston College won the opening tipoff, beginning a stretch of comparable play from both teams. Though the Eagles missed their first shot, they were not alone, as the Blue Devils missed their first try just 12 seconds later. Soon, the Eagles found the basket to make the game 2-0.

It did not take long for Duke to respond with its first basket, a layup from Kennedy Brown after an offensive rebound. 

Boston College quickly bit back with a 3-pointer. Yet after subbing out sophomore guards Richardson and Shayeann Day-Wilson for junior guard Vanessa de Jesus and redshirt junior guard Jordyn Oliver, a Celeste Taylor 3-pointer began a stretch of offensive excellence from the visiting team.

The opening quarter ended after Taylor got a driving layup of her own from a turnover, giving Duke an eight-point advantage heading into the second quarter.

“I think when you watch us play, everybody roots for one another’s success whether they’re in the game or they’re on the bench, and we try to move the ball and play together and play off one another like the Celtics do,” Lawson, a former assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, said.

The second quarter did not begin as fast-paced for the Blue Devils as the first. While Boston College’s Taina Mair and Ava McGee combined for five points within just more than two minutes, it took Duke 3:28 to score its first four points of the frame.

However, once Richardson got Duke its second layup of the quarter, the group continued its defensive run that paid off on the offensive end. Richardson’s layup came off an offensive rebound, while a Mia Heide steal from Mair got the Blue Devils another layup from Taya Corosdale, assisted by Day-Wilson, to give Duke a 23-14 lead.

Richardson’s driving layup with 4:59 in the half made the score 25-14. The Blue Devils, who finally had pulled away from the Eagles despite an alternating score early in the game, continued to control both sides of the ball. Richardson finished the night with 14 points after launching Duke to an 18-point lead with 1:55 remaining in the half. 

Despite Duke being in a foreign environment, the game ended with some cheers in its favor, as freshman forward Shay Bollin—a native of nearby Raynham—added the final score with 32 seconds on the clock.

“[Shay] was an outstanding high school player,” Lawson said. “And so it was awesome to see all the support and all the people excited to watch her play tonight.”

Duke returns home Sunday for a game against Miami in Cameron Indoor Stadium at 2 p.m.


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