DURHAM, N.C. -- The points came from some new people for Duke (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP). The rebounds came from just about everybody.
The result: One of the Blue Devils' more lopsided routs of their fiercest rival.
"This is the kind of game we like to have more often than not," coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
It's not hard to see why. Duke dominated nearly every stat category during a 79-51 rout of North Carolina (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) on Monday night. While six players scored in double figures, the usual stars took a back seat to some unfamiliar faces.
Bridgette Mitchell and Keturah Jackson scored 12 points apiece, Krystal Thomas had 11 and three players each added 10 for the first-place Blue Devils (19-4, 7-1). They never trailed and built a 52-28 rebounding advantage -- 35-12 in the second half -- to avoid their first ACC losing streak in a decade.
"The team deserves all the credit -- there's no Xs and Os for that," McCallie said of the rebounding disparity. "That's players getting after it and totally controlling the game from the board end. ... Our team really needs to think about this game a little bit, in terms of, what are the possibilities? How good can we be? How can we grow from this experience? Because we sure showed on some numbers, and that's very important."
She'la White and Laura Broomfield had 10 points each to lead the slumping Tar Heels (16-6, 4-4), who had no shortage of reasons why they stumbled to their first three-game losing streak in ACC play since 2001-02 and absorbed their worst loss to Duke since 2003.
They had 25 turnovers, shot 24 percent in the second half and managed just two field goals over a stretch of roughly 11 minutes in which this one got out of hand.
Not surprisingly, nothing disappointed rebounding-obsessed North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell quite like the way her team was pushed around on the glass.
"We'll keep working until we find the right buttons and the right answers," Hatchell said. "We're going to have to bring the football players in to do drills, it looks like, so we can put bodies on people."
When North Carolina pulled to 11 midway through the second half and threatened to make things competitive down the stretch, Duke responded with an overwhelming run that turned it into a laugher.
Jackson hit a 3 with less than 12 minutes left and Krystal Thomas had baskets on consecutive trips downcourt to start the late 27-8 run that pushed the Blue Devils' lead to 30. Mitchell's free throw with 5:39 remaining made it 67-47, and Kathleen Scheer's layup with 27 seconds left made it 79-49.
Allison Vernerey, Shay Selby and Jasmine Thomas had 10 points apiece for the Blue Devils, who proved they could win convincingly even without big scoring contributions from their two top offensive playmakers.
"That's the power of team," McCallie said. "That's the power of everybody."
Jasmine Thomas barely played in the first half because of foul trouble and hit just 3 of 15 shots while Joy Cheek had just five points -- half of her average.
North Carolina's top scorer, Italee Lucas, had as many points (six) as turnovers and finished 10 points shy of her average. Backcourt mate Cetera DeGraffenreid, who averages 13 points, missed all eight shots she attempted and finished with six points on free throws.
"My mindset was to shut them down," Jackson said. "They're going to score throughout the course of the game, but you want to limit that as much as possible. And if you can completely shut them down, that's just great."
Said Hatchell: "We've got to get Italee Lucas and Cetera DeGraffenreid playing better, or they're going to have to go to the bench."
Both teams limped back to the state's Triangle region late last week after long road trips ended in upset losses, and the schools entering their rivalry after defeats for the first time since 1997. While Duke was losing at Boston College, the Tar Heels were being knocked off by Miami -- a loss that helped sink them to their lowest ranking since they were 19th late in 2001-02.
Upsets generally have been the exception in this series: the higher-ranked team has won 38 of 52 matchups when both teams were in the Top 25. But in both meetings last year, the lower-ranked teams won on their home courts.
That wasn't about to happen this time -- and it was clear from the opening tip.
Coming off that lethargic loss in Boston, Duke scored the first 10 points of this one during a game-opening 16-4 run. The lead grew to 25-11 after it forced the Tar Heels to miss 14 of their first 19 shots.
Perhaps more impressively, the Blue Devils mostly did it without their two top players. Foul trouble limited Jasmine Thomas to six minutes and Cheek to seven, but with them on the bench, Duke's lead grew to 15 on Selby's 3 from the corner with 5 1/2 minutes before the break.
"We gave a game away," McCallie said of the BC loss. "That's a really painful feeling. I think our team understood that ... 20 minutes wasn't enough."