The Blue Devils threatened to get back in the game early in the second half, pulling to 49-44 on Richa Jackson’s putback with 15½ minutes left.
That’s when Notre Dame got hot, scoring on six straight trips downcourt.
With Loyd hitting twice from close range and Michaela Mabrey making two outside jumpers, the Irish reeled off nine straight points during a 13-2 run.
Achonwa’s free throw with 12:18 left gave Notre Dame its largest lead to that point, 62-46.
“We never got the stops we needed,” McCallie said. “Ever.”
In winning this rematch of a 2013 NCAA tournament regional final, the Irish extended their school-record road winning streak to 31 and joined No. 1 Connecticut as the only teams to beat the Blue Devils at Cameron since 2008. They moved two wins from the best start in program history.
“You have three seniors who have been to Final Fours, back to back to back, and they have great leadership,” Loyd said. “And then you go to the bench and you have a Hall of Fame coach. ... It helps a lot when you have that combo.”
Jackson and Alexis Jones added 16 points each for Duke, which fell to 46-3 in home conference games under McCallie and have lost 11 straight games to teams ranked either No. 1 or No. 2.
Center Elizabeth Williams, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with two points on 0-for-4 shooting and failed to block a shot — ending her ACC-record streak of 91 straight games with at least one rejection.
“I’m sure I’ll see a combination of passes missed into her and, at times, her being taken out by (Achonwa) when it comes down to watching film,” McCallie said.
This marquee matchup in the new-look ACC matched the nation’s top two shooting teams and the highest-scoring teams in the conference. Notre Dame entered shooting 51.4 percent and averaging 87.3 points while Duke shoots 51.1 percent and scores 84.4 points per game.