The Blue Devils entered their first rivalry game of the year hoping to play inside-out against a smaller North Carolina frontcourt.

Although senior Oderah Chidom came off the bench, she and her teammates did just that to bounce back from Sunday’s 24-point loss at No. 6 Florida State.

No. 12 Duke got six quick paint points from Chidom then outscored North Carolina 18-4 in the second quarter en route to a 70-58 victory Thursday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Chidom and fellow forwards Kendall Cooper and Leaonna Odom scored 13 of the team’s first 18 points before the Blue Devils’ matchup zone took the Tar Heels out of their offense.

“In the second quarter we shut the gaps down,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “We started to pick it up and understand how to play a little bit better… .There was a little bit better defensive tenacity, and then of course offensively I thought we were more aggressive. Everyone was more aggressive in that quarter.”

Although Duke star guards Rebecca Greenwell and Lexie Brown were largely held in check for a second straight game, the Blue Devils used a balanced attack with five players notching at least eight points to preserve a 15-point halftime advantage.

Odom had one of the best games of her career with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, and Brown and sophomore Kyra Lambert finished with 25 points combined.

With defenses locking in on Greenwell and Brown, Lambert took advantage of plenty of openings Thursday to post her third straight game in double figures.

“We have a lot of weapons,” Lambert said. “We’re a very versatile team, and we’re very confident in anybody taking shots or attacking the basket.”

In addition to sparking Duke’s offense inside, Odom and the Blue Devil forwards got several deflections that led to 20 North Carolina turnovers. Duke (15-2, 3-1 in the ACC) slowed down a team that averages 75.4 points per game with its matchup zone, then took advantage on the other end for a 36-18 edge in paint points.

The Tar Heels (12-5, 1-3) shot just 4-of-26 from 3-point range.

In her final home game against North Carolina, Cooper set the tone defensively with an emphatic block that had the Cameron Crazies going wild from the first minute of the game. Although Chidom came off the bench for the first time this season—McCallie said she is just rotating Cooper, Chidom, Odom and junior Erin Mathias inside—she too went right to work in the paint.

The Blue Devils fed off the strong start inside after a back-and-forth opening period, then went on to take Tar Heel star Stephanie Watts and her teammates out of the game in the second quarter.

Watts, North Carolina’s leading scorer, made 10 3-pointers in a game earlier this season, but struggled to find much airspace because of Duke’s length. She finished with just 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting and a game-high seven turnovers.

“We didn’t want to get in a running race with them. We wanted to get solid stops on the defensive end,” Brown said. “This season we’ve really been preaching defense and steals, and I think Kyra and I have been growing every game at being able to read each other off the ball. We’re both at the top of that zone most of the time. I think we’re a dangerous combo at the top.”

And as the Tar Heel defense began collapsing on Cooper and company inside on the other end of the court, the Blue Devils’ other players then got free for open looks.

Brown and Lambert found themselves all alone on the perimeter several times throughout the contest, one of the main reasons Duke was able to pull away despite going just 3-of-17 from 3-point range.

The fact that the Blue Devils were able to win convincingly despite their leading scorer in Greenwell shooting just 3-of-14 and 0-of-8 from 3-point range was a step in the right direction for a team that will look for its first road win against a ranked team Sunday. Duke will take on another in-state rival in No. 23 N.C. State, which has already posted impressive top-10 wins against Notre Dame and Florida State this season.

But before focusing on the next challenge, the Blue Devils took some time to enjoy their sixth straight win against North Carolina and 13th in the teams’ last 15 matchups. Several players were seen on Abele Quadrangle after the game when about 100 students gathered to burn benches in celebration of a home win against the Tar Heels.

“The fact that [the Crazies] showed up and showed out was really good and made us feel really special,” Brown said. “We know that we have the support of our student body, but that was a really fun environment, and I’m excited for the rematch later this year.”