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March 27, 2013

Cowgirls KOed

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke is usually the one running teams out of Cameron Indoor Stadium. So when the Blue Devils found themselves on the receiving end of a beatdown, they figured they had simply set themselves up for quite a comeback.

They stormed back from 15 points down in the second half to beat Oklahoma State 68-59 on Tuesday night in the second round of the Norfolk Regional.

“Coach came in and just said we were just getting ready for a great comeback,” forward Haley Peters said. “We knew we played a bad first half but we couldn’t focus on that. It was more about how we were going to change in the second half ... and we were going to have a great comeback.”

Elizabeth Williams had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Peters added 15 points and 13 rebounds and Tricia Liston scored eight of her 13 in the final 6-plus minutes for the second-seeded Blue Devils (32-2), who will face sixth-seeded Nebraska in the regional semifinals on Sunday in Norfolk, Va. — near Williams’ hometown of Virginia Beach.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Williams said.

Chloe Wells also finished with 13 points for Duke, which dug out of that deep hole by outscoring the seventh-seeded Cowgirls 47-23 during the final 19 1/2 minutes to reach the tournament’s second weekend for the 15th time in 16 years.

Duke improved to 20-1 in NCAA tournament games at Cameron and won its 20th straight home game.

“That was a blue-collar comeback,” coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “That was guttural. That was gutsy.”

Liz Donohoe had 14 points to lead Oklahoma State (22-11), which led for nearly all of the first 35 minutes but had 21 turnovers and made just 2 of 14 shots over the final 9 1/2 minutes.

“We almost had to play a perfect game to win this game, and I thought we played pretty close to perfect in the first half and maybe the first 4-5 minutes in the second half,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “But it was a tough draw coming in here, because we know how good they are.”

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