Duke (21-3) joins only Texas and Louisiana Tech as teams that have won three straight games on the Lady Volunteers’ home court. The Blue Devils also won in 2004 and 2007.
The Longhorns did it between 1983 and 1988, and the Lady Techsters managed the feat between 1981 and 1986.
The game marked the end of the six-game series between the two perennial powerhouses, a series in which the home team has only one once. The Blue Devils now lead the series 6-5, including games at neutral sites.
Duke led 28-26 at halftime, but Tennessee’s Alicia Manning hit 3-pointer and Alex Fuller sank a jumper to tie the game at 28.
The Blue Devils responded with a 16-0 run through an 8-minute drought by the Lady Vols (18-7). Free throws by Bridgette Mitchell with 8:51 left gave Duke a 44-28 lead — its largest of the game.
Tennessee used free throws to slowly chip away at the margin, and Angie Bjorklund’s 3-pointer with 48 seconds left trimmed Duke’s lead to 58-54.
The Lady Vols began fouling the Blue Devils but couldn’t manage to pull in defensive rebounds on the missed shots.
Chante Black added 18 points for Duke, which shot 41.8 percent and outrebounded the Lady Vols 49-36.
Briana Bass led Tennessee, which shot a season-low 32.1 percent with 14 points, and Kelley Cain added 10.
Duke scored the first four points of the first half and knocked in 50 percent of their shots in the first 10 minutes of the game.
The Blue Devils took a 20-10 lead on a jumper by Thomas with 6:34 before halftime.
But the Lady Vols, who shot only 30.8 percent in the first half, went on an 8-1 run from there. Briana Bass hit a 3-point shot with 2:08 in the first half to tie the game at 23 points.
Thomas and Abby Waner hit back-to-back baskets to give Duke a 28-23 lead at halftime.
Duke had 12 points off 13 Tennessee turnovers at the break. The Blue Devils had committed 14 turnovers by then, but the Lady Vols capitalized for only five points.
Duke moves to 5-2 over ranked opponents for the season while Tennessee drops to 2-7.