In a stunning turn of events, the Ohio State women’s basketball team, seeded second in the NCAA tournament, faced an unexpected defeat on their home court at the hands of the seventh-seeded Duke Blue Devils. The game, held at the Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, witnessed Duke emerging victorious with a final score of 75-63, ending Ohio State’s season in the second round.

The loss comes as a surprising blow to the Buckeyes, who had enjoyed a successful season, clinching the Big Ten regular-season title. With only five losses throughout the season, the Buckeyes were favored to advance deeper into the tournament. However, Duke, with a record of 21-11 coming into the contest, had other plans.

Early in the game, Ohio State appeared dominant, outscoring the Blue Devils 20-10 in the first quarter. However, Duke’s offense gained momentum in the second quarter, steadily chipping away at the Buckeyes’ double-digit lead. By halftime, Ohio State maintained a narrow 36-32 advantage.

The tide turned dramatically in the third quarter as Duke seized control of the game, flipping the script on the Buckeyes. Led by Reigan Richardson, who delivered an impressive 28-point performance, the Blue Devils surged ahead, capitalizing on their newfound momentum. Ohio State found themselves unable to respond effectively as Duke’s continued to dominate the offensive boards leading to second chance opportunities, leaving the Buckeyes struggling to keep pace.

Despite a valiant effort from Ohio State’s Cotie McMahon, who led her team’s scoring with 27 points, and Jacy Sheldon contributing 13 points, it wasn’t enough to stave off Duke’s relentless onslaught.

Reflecting on the defeat, Ohio State head Coach Kevin McGuff lamented his team’s shortcomings.

“Our lack of offensive execution and rebounding were the key today. They played better today. We didn’t deserve to win.”

Kevin McGuff

As the final whistle blew, Duke celebrated a well-deserved victory, advancing to the next round of the NCAA tournament while Ohio State was left to grapple with the disappointment of an unexpected early exit in the final game for several Buckeyes including 2,000-plus point scorer Jacy Sheldon.