Minnesota entered Cameron Indoor Stadium as one of the most prolific and accurate 3-point shooting teams in the nation, but No. 14 Duke shut the Golden Gophers down from the perimeter Thursday night.

The Blue Devils held Minnesota to its lowest scoring output all season in an 84-64 victory, keeping its talented backcourt from getting into a rhythm from deep. The Golden Gophers averaged 85.0 points per game through their first five games and made 3-pointers at an impressive clip of 39.3 percent. But they shot just 5-of-25 from beyond the arc Thursday and missed their first ten attempts to help Duke start fast and build a big first-half lead.

The Blue Devils gave Minnesota a lot of different looks on defense to make it difficult for the Golden Gophers to find openings on the perimeter. Duke head coach Jonane P. McCallie’s squad used a 3-2 zone periodically to keep defenders close to shooters on the wings, and several different defenders guarded Minnesota's top offensive weapon—guard Rachel Banham—during the game.

Prior to the game, McCallie insisted the Blue Devils know where Banham was at all times. The redshirt senior recently became Minnesota's all-time leading scorer and was fifth in the nation at 25 points per game, coming into the contest on the strength of a torrid 20-of-43 start from downtown. Banham still finished with 21 points against Duke, but it took the Lakeville, Minn., native 23 shots to get to that mark, as she shot an uncharacteristic 1-of-10 from long distance.

“We had some pretty good effectiveness—if someone goes 8-of-23, they’re working hard,” McCallie said. “I loved Oderah [Chidom] on her, I loved Azurá [Stevens] on her, we had Crystal [Primm] on her, we had Kyra [Lambert] on her—a lot of different people. I think everybody pretty much stepped up.”

The impressive perimeter defense continued a trend for Duke this year, as the Blue Devils held opponents to just 23.8 percent 3-point shooting during their first five games. Duke’s versatile post players like Chidom and Stevens are able to defend several positions out to the 3-point line due to their quickness and used their length to get a hand up and alter many of Minnesota’s shots.

Banham shot multiple air balls and missed badly off the rim on most of her attempts, and she did not get any help from her normally-reliable backcourt mates. Mikayla Bailey entered the game with almost identical 3-point numbers as Banham—boasting a 19-of-43 mark from deep—and gets most of her points on the perimeter. But the Blue Devils shut her down too, holding her to just five points on 1-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.

Duke did an impressive job of closing out on long-range attempts, but Minnesota head coach Marlene Stollings felt that her team was still able to move the ball around the perimeter and produce some good shots.

“We forced a few shots, but overall our looks were excellent,” Stollings said. “They were the shots that we wanted. We don’t typically shoot that poorly from the 3-point line, and it was just an off night for us out there.”

The Blue Devils clearly made it a point of emphasis not to allow the Golden Gophers to stay in the game and gain confidence by knocking down treys all night, which left some openings for Minnesota to penetrate. Duke’s defensive intensity on the 3-point line allowed sophomore Carlie Wagner—more of a slasher by nature—to slice through the paint and lead the Golden Gophers in scoring with 23 points on an efficient 10-of-17 shooting.

“[Wagner] was the one that, really, that was irritating,” McCallie said. “I think we should have done a better job on [Wagner] and could have held them to 50 or less points and really been dominant, but she’s a competitor and she really played very well.”

Minnesota did shoot an efficient 20-of-37 on two-pointers, but to have a chance to pull off the upset, it needed to do what its offense does best and shoot well from downtown. The Blue Devils took that away from them and even beat them at their own game to help cruise to the victory. Duke had one its best shooting performances of the year offensively, going 8-of-18 from long-range to complement its dominant performance in the post.

The Blue Devils will need to continue their offensive and defensive success on the perimeter in order to pull off an upset of their own at No. 2 South Carolina Sunday afternoon.