KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Thompson-Boling Arena was loud and full of orange for Tennessee's showdown against No. 1 Duke. Even men's coach Bruce Pearl joined the student section, painting his bare chest orange and supplying the white "V" in GO VOLS.
The Blue Devils loved it.
Duke (20-0) stormed out to a 19-0 lead, never trailed and held on to win 74-70 Monday night. It was one of the most dominating performances early by an opponent that fans here have seen in a long time.
"Not in my coaching career. I hope it's the only one," Summitt said when asked if her team had ever been in such a big hole early.
And Duke coach Gail Goestenkors couldn't remember being the one shoveling the dirt onto an opponent.
"People have started that well against us before," she said.
Fourth-ranked Tennessee (17-2) was 0-of-8 from the field before finally Nicky Anosike scored with 14:02 remaining before halftime.
Abby Waner made her first eight shots and had 21 by the break. She finished with 24 and was 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Lindsey Harding scored 14 her of 21 points in the second half, and Wanisha Smith added 15.
"I love coming to away games to come and play in front of a crowd like this," Waner said.
Summitt said her team might have suffered from being too worked up about the game.
"It was a great opportunity for us to see how we would stack up against the No. 1 team in the country coming off losses to them in the last two years," she said. "Obviously we didn't lack for desire."
The Blue Devils started the year 20-0 for the second straight season and got victory No. 20 by handing Tennessee only its 17th loss in Thompson-Boling Arena, which opened in 1987.
"Overall, I'm happy to come away with a win. This is such a difficult place to play. Tennessee is not only a great team but they're a great program and have just incredible tradition here," Goestenkors said. "I was really proud of the way my team came out of the gates. We were ready to play and we were focused."
Early on it looked as if could be the worst loss ever for the Lady Vols in their home arena, but Tennessee rallied from as many as 21 points down in the first half to tie it at 48 with 10:48 remaining.
Duke then ran its lead back to nine, but Tennessee kept chipping away and made the final minutes tense for both sides, especially the large and raucous orange-clad crowd.
Harding scored on a drive with 1:37 left to put Duke ahead 70-63, but Tennessee went 2-of-4 at the foul line and Candace Parker scored to cut it to 70-67.
The Lady Vols' last chance came after Alberta Auguste hit a 3 with 6.1 seconds left to cut it to 72-70, and they immediately fouled Harding. She made both free throws to ice it.
"They picked it up and came after us. I was proud of our poise down the stretch. We hit some big free throws late," Goestenkors said.
Duke is one of only nine teams to win in Thompson-Boling and only the fifth of those to win more than once.
The Blue Devils were 14-of-15 from the foul line. Tennessee was only 8-of-17.
Parker led the Lady Vols with 22 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, but was 1-for-7 from the foul line. Alexis Hornbuckle added 19 points and Sidney Spencer had 13. Anosike finished with 10 rebounds but was 1-of-7 from the floor.
Duke came into the game with the top field-goal defense in the country, holding teams to 30.3 percent. Tennessee shot 29.7 percent in the first half and finished at 36 percent.
Duke has won three straight over Tennessee, including last year's 75-53 win in Durham. The Cameron Crazies had fun taunting the Lady Vols, especially Hornbuckle. They held up Wal-Mart bags during the game, referencing Hornbuckle's arrest for shoplifting before arriving at Tennessee.
Summitt and her players took unprecedented efforts to encourage students to attend by making announcements in the campus cafeteria.
Pearl had said earlier in the week on a radio show with Summitt that he would paint his chest and stand in the student section. She did not promise the same for a men's game.
Waner said she would suggest the idea to Duke men's coach Mike Krzyzewski. Goestenkors smirked a little and looked askance at Waner.
"It's great that the support is here," Waner said. "We get that from our men's program too. I'm sure the team appreciated it. It shows a lot about the respect women's basketball is getting."