What a difference the halftime break makes for the Blue Devils.

After allowing Army to put up 34 first-half points—including 18 from star guard Kelsey Minato—Duke limited the Black Knights to only five third-quarter points en route to a 72-61 victory Sunday afternoon. The Blue Devils held Army to a mere 8.3 percent clip from the floor in the quarter as they turned a three-point deficit into an 11-point lead.

“I thought we played kind of average defense [in the first half] and I think [Minato] took advantage, as you saw. And I think in the second half, the team, everybody, stepped it up and played their positions much more aggressively," Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "Everything in the second half was better in terms of defensive pressure and defensive play.”

Minato, who came into the contest ranked ninth in the NCAA with 25.7 points per game, got every shot she wanted in the first half. The senior made six of her 10 shot attempts in the first half, including four 3-pointers.

But everything changed in the second half. McCallie threw every defense possible at Minato, including double- and triple-teams when she had the ball. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native struggled in the second half, only making one shot as a result of the revamped defensive pressure. With Minato forced into low-percentage shot attempts, Army’s offense faltered.

“They definitely made some adjustments at halftime and made my shot attempts a lot more difficult,” Minato said.

Freshman point guard Kyra Lambert led the charge defensively, contributing two steals for the Blue Devils. With additional defenders keying on Minato, Lambert was able to gamble for steals. Despite her struggles on offense, the Cibolo, Texas, native remained in the game due to her defensive prowess.

For Duke’s defense, Sunday's game was eerily similar to its Nov. 15 win against Winthrop. In both contests, the Blue Devils turned up their defensive pressure in the second half to pull away from an unranked opponent. But this time, instead of getting eight blocks from Azurá Stevens, Duke received contributions up and down the lineup as they forced nine second-half turnovers.

As the team heads to Cancún, Mexico, McCallie will try to get her squad to play improved defense for all 40 minutes, instead of just the 20 minutes in the second half.

"It’s got to happen on the floor. You've got to want to shut people down. It’s really an attitude,” McCallie said. “It’s a real competitive attitude, and it has to be something that the five people on the floor are really in tune with. I still think we’re starting games worried about our own little individual things.”

The Blue Devils began to swarm on defense after they came out of the locker room for the second half. Duke's traps were much more effective because they took place farther away from the basket. This forced the Black Knights to blindly throw the ball across the court, starting fast-breaks for the Blue Devils. Even when Army recovered the basketball, the Black Knights were often out of position and unable to initiate their offense.

Against Army, Duke’s defense was its best offense. The steals allowed to Blue Devils to get out in transition and take advantage of their athleticism. A behind-the-back pass from Angela Salvadores to Rebecca Greenwell for a layup brought the crowd to its feet and highlighted Duke's 12 fast-break points and 20 points off of Black Knight giveaways.

The lockdown defense in the third quarter allowed Duke to weather another 22-point flurry by Army in the fourth quarter points. The Black Knights trimmed Duke’s lead to as little as five points, but little time was left on the clock to complete the comeback.

Duke's half-court trap showcased its young guards. Once freshman guard Haley Gorecki returns from an ankle injury, Duke’s defense has the potential to be special—if they can figure out how to bring the intensity for the full 40 minutes.