Sportswrap: Women's basketball upsets Ohio State, men's basketball downs James Madison to book spots in Sweet 16

Reigan Richardson shoots over former Blue Devil Celeste Taylor during Duke's win against Ohio State.
Reigan Richardson shoots over former Blue Devil Celeste Taylor during Duke's win against Ohio State.

Sportswrap is your one-stop shop for everything Duke athletics, where we’ll recap how each of Duke’s sports currently in competition performed over the last week and give a brief look ahead. Here’s our recap for the week of March 18-24:

Men’s basketball

In No. 4-seed Duke’s first weekend of the NCAA tournament in Brooklyn, N.Y., it emerged victorious and punched its ticket to the Sweet 16. In their Round of 64 matchup against No. 13-seed Vermont Friday night, the Blue Devils defeated the Catamounts 64-47 despite a tough challenge from their opponents. Sophomore forward Mark Mitchell and Jared McCain each had 15 points to lead Duke to victory, while sophomore center Kyle Filipowski contributed 12 rebounds in the win. Facing off against No. 12-seed James Madison in the Round of 32 Sunday evening — the place where they were defeated a year ago — the Blue Devils trounced the Dukes in a resounding 93-55 victory. McCain was once again the star of the show, setting a program record for most threes made in a single NCAA tournament game with eight along with 30 points. Duke will now travel to Dallas to face off against Houston or Texas A&M. -Mackenzie Sheehy

Women’s basketball

Despite being matched up with one of the nation’s premier teams in Ohio State, the seventh-seeded Blue Devils mounted an intense comeback to prevail in Columbus, Ohio, and advance to the Sweet 16. First, head coach Kara Lawson’s squad had to escape a tight first-round game against Richmond, and it took another impressive comeback from Duke. Reigan Richardson was the star of both games, as the junior guard had 25 and a career-high 28 points in the two contests, respectively,while also grabbing seven rebounds in each. In the matchup with the Buckeyes, Duke was down by as many as 16 at one point, but was able to pull off the improbable comeback to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time under Lawson. It will face the winner of UConn and Syracuse this weekend in Portland, Ore. -Caleb Dudley


After taking down Towson 12-2 in its midweek game, No. 6 Duke dropped another ACC series this weekend, losing two down the road against N.C. State. The bats struggled to get going Friday, and 10 walks helped the Wolfpack to a 4-3 win. Things went even worse Saturday for the Blue Devils (17-7, 4-5 in the ACC), who jumped out to a 8-2 lead in the eighth inning. However, N.C. State mashed two home runs in the bottom of the ninth off graduate pitcher Charlie Beilenson — including a walk-off bomb down the right line — to steal game two. Duke finally came out on top Sunday, taking out its frustration from the previous two games via a 13-2 mercy-rule victory. The road does not get any easier for the Blue Devils, who face Campbell and Virginia next week. -Dom Fenoglio


This week, No. 3 Duke went 4-1, taking both ends of a doubleheader against UNC Wilmington Wednesday, and winning an ACC series against Louisville two games to one. In Louisville, Ky., the Blue Devils (26-3, 7-2) eked out tight 3-2 and 5-3 wins Friday and Sunday, sandwiching a 2-1 loss in eight innings. On Sunday, starting pitcher Jala Wright continued her dominant senior season with seven strikeouts in 4⅓ innings, and earned the win to move to a sterling 11-0 record this year. On the other side of the ball, star sophomore Aminah Vega knocked a solo home run Sunday for her 100th career hit. Next up, Duke welcomes Virginia Tech to town for a three-game series next weekend. -Myles Powicki

Men’s lacrosse

No. 5 Duke began ACC play this Wednesday with an unsuccessful trip to the JMA Wireless Dome, as the Blue Devils (9-2, 0-1) lost to then-No. 6 Syracuse 10-4. While the Duke defense held the Orange to their fewest goals of the season, Syracuse goalie Will Mark stopped 14 shots and kept the usually potent attack in first gear. The Blue Devils did bounce back Sunday, as a Brennan O’Neill hat trick powered an 11-7 victory against then-No. 9 Denver. The Duke defense continued to impress, holding the Pioneers to just one first-half goal. The Blue Devils will hope to keep suffocating opponents, welcoming Boston University to Koskinen Stadium Wednesday. -Luke Jovanovic

Women’s lacrosse

Duke faced its tallest task of the season Saturday afternoon, welcoming No. 4 Boston College to Koskinen Stadium. It took the Eagles less than a minute to take the lead, and they never looked back. The Blue Devils (6-5, 2-3) fell 18-3 on Alumni Day. Tewaaraton Award watch list goalkeeper Shea Dolce saved 11 shots, stifling the Katie DeSimone-led Duke offense. The senior attacker did nab her 45th score of the season, putting her at 178 all-time, just 15 behind Carolyn Davis for the No. 2 spot in the Blue Devil record books. Duke and head coach Kerstin Kimel take on East Carolina and her daughter Frances Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Koskinen. -Rachael Kaplan

Women’s tennis

The 23rd-ranked Blue Devils collected two strong ACC wins this week as they defeated Wake Forest 4-1 and had a come-from-behind 4-3 win against No. 6 N.C. State, despite dropping the doubles point in both matches. Duke (12-5, 5-3) was able to quickly rebound in singles Friday afternoon, as Iuliia Bryzgalova notched her 100th victory in her collegiate career with a 6-3, 6-3 win against her Demon Deacon opponent. The Blue Devils had to battle more on Sunday afternoon as the teams were tied 3-3, with the match coming down to sophomore Katie Codd on court four. After inching out the first set 7-6, Codd was able to tie the second set 4-4 before going on to win 7-5. Duke will continue ACC play next weekend as they take on North Carolina. -Anna Newberry

Swimming and diving

Duke traveled to Athens, Ga, this weekend to make history at the NCAA Women’s Championships. The Blue Devils began by demolishing two school records. Ali Pfaff, Kaelyn Gridley, Aleyna Ozkan and Tatum Wall upset the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:35.16. Then Sarah Foley, Yixuan Chang, Wall and Catherine Purnell swam a lightning 7:05.18 to break the school record in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The 400-yard medley relay team of Pfaff, Gridley, Ozkan, and Foley added a third record book rewrite with their time of 3:28.71, while Pfaff broke the 100-yard backstroke record with a 51.65. Diver Margo O’Meara, along with the 400-yard medley relay, was named a First-Team All-American. Gridley had the highest finish of the meet, taking home fourth in the 200-yard breaststroke. Overall, the Blue Devils delivered the highest-ever finish in program history — 16th, with 80 points. Up next, Duke faces a long offseason before resuming things in the fall -Abby DiSalvo

Track and field

Duke kicked off its outdoor season at the Miami Collegiate Invitational Saturday. Despite inclement weather conditions that caused delays, the Blue Devils garnered nine top-five finishes at the meet. The women’s 4x100m, which included graduate students Maddy Doane, Halle Bieber and Tina Martin alongside junior Abby Geiser, earned a first-place finish with a time of 44.16. Martin dominated the sprints all day, notching first and fourth place in the 200-meter and 100-meter, respectively. On the men’s side, graduate student Ezra Mellinger won the 200-meter event with a personal-best time of 20.78. Fellow graduate student Aimar Palma Simo shattered Duke’s school record in the hammer event with a 70.03-meter showing. Next, the Blue Devils head back to North Carolina for the Raleigh Relays, which begin Thursday. -Tyler Walley


The Blue Devils closed out their season on a high note this weekend at the NCAA Fencing Championship in Columbus, Ohio. The seven fencers representing Duke showed out on both the men’s and women’s sides to put the team in 10th. Junior Allen Marakov tied for third place in men’s epee, collecting 10 victories in pool play before falling 15-12 to Jonathan Hamilton-Meikle of Notre Dame. This marks the first time a men’s epeeist from Duke has placed in the top three of the event since 2014. On the women’s side, foilist Christina Ferrari placed eighth to earn All-America honors for the third time in her four years at Duke. Other top finishers included freshman Charlotte Koenig in women’s foil (9th) and Kunling Tong in women’s saber (13th). The Blue Devils now have a long offseason before picking things up again in the fall. -Emily Wang


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