DURHAM, N.C. – Duke's defense was too quick, too tall and too strong for overmatched Monmouth, and it added up to a share of an NCAA record.
The fourth-ranked Blue Devils held Monmouth to a Division I record-tying three points in the first half of a 73-32 rout Sunday.
The Hawks managed just one field goal in the opening 20 minutes against the Blue Devils (11-0). They matched the NCAA's halftime scoring mark set in 2003 by Savannah State against Florida State and equaled by Tennessee State two years ago against Georgia Tech.
"You're not necessarily trying to do that, per se, but we were trying to be very focused on things that we were trying to accomplish defensively," coach Joanne P. McCallie said.
She had 11 rebounds but matched a career low with seven points - nine below her average - on 1-of-7 shooting.
The Blue Devils shot 42.9 percent, built a 55-28 rebounding advantage, forced 29 turnovers, turned them into 28 points and set the school record for lowest shooting percentage allowed in a half. It was the fifth time this season that Duke held its opponent to 45 or fewer points.
"We were really trying to make a statement with our defense today and create from there," Liston said.
Monmouth (3-8) shot just 4 percent in the first half; Duke's previous low was 9.1 percent allowed in 2005 to Ball State. The Cardinals also owned the old mark of seven points scored in the opening half against Duke one year earlier.
"I hate to use the word, but we played scared in the first half, offensively, to me," Monmouth coach Jenny Palmateer said. "We played a little intimidated in the first half, and I don't think we did in the second."
The opponent's early futility largely masked what for a while was a sluggish, subpar day for the Blue Devils - who begin the heart of Atlantic Coast Conference play later this week with a visit to North Carolina State. The Wolfpack knocked top-seeded Duke out in the quarterfinals of last season's ACC tournament.
"Our defense better be sharp against that team," McCallie said. "Certainly, we have reminders of last year."
McCallie says she isn't worried about an offense that, in its first game since a two-game sweep in Southern California ended Dec. 22, finished with a season-high 24 turnovers and a season-low 13 assists.
Duke also went eight minutes between field goals and - despite a 29-3 halftime lead - scratched out its lowest point total in an opening half this season.
"That's funny - three was ours, too," Palmateer said with a laugh.
Indeed, that was nothing compared to the Hawks' struggles.
Monmouth played without injured leading scorer Alysha Womack, a 16-point scorer who missed her second straight game with a hyperextended knee. The Hawks' only basket of the half came on Shira Shecht's jumper with just over 10 minutes left.
They missed both their first 12 shots and their last 12 before the break, and their second field goal didn't come until Betsy Gadziala's layup with 18 minutes to play.
Chevannah Paalvast had 13 of her 15 points in the second half for Monmouth.