Beard played high school basketball across the Red River from Bossier City in Shreveport. Saturday's game was the first time the Duke senior had played in Louisiana since her final high school game - a state championship in which she scored 48 points and grabbed 20 rebounds.
"I didn't feel there was that much pressure on me," she said about playing in front of a home crowd. "It was great to see all the people who had supported me in the past there to see me play."
Beard played 24 minutes, handed out four assists and had four steals.
Monique Currie and Vicki Krapohl added 17 points each. Krapohl hit five of six 3-point tries as Duke had its best performance of the season from that range (9-of-20).
Duke (7-1) hit 52 percent of its attempts, marking the sixth time in eight games it has been over 50 percent. Iciss Tillis scored on a layup with three minutes to play to hit the 100-point mark for the Blue Devils.
Beard's driving basket and then steal and assist ignited a 22-0 run that put Duke in front 38-10 with about nine minutes left in the first half.
All Northwestern's scoring to that point came from Amanda Bennett, who finished with 23 points.
Duke led 59-27 at halftime, making 61 percent of its shots. The Blue Devils defense limited Northwestern (5-3) to 34-percent shooting.
Jessica Foley added 13 points for Duke.