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The Marquette women’s basketball team will return to the Al McGuire Center tomorrow for the first time since its shaky loss to Connecticut Jan. 13. The Golden Eagles will take on No. 19/18 Georgetown, which is unbeaten in its last 16 games.
“The thing about Georgetown is it’s going to be about pressing and trapping, so we’re going to have to take care of the basketball,” assistant coach Michelle Nason said. “After we take care of the basketball we have to make sure that we take good shots. (Georgetown) is the kind of team to make you panic and your response is to shoot threes or shoot quickly.”
The Golden Eagles are coming off a tough loss to Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights took the lead from Marquette with roughly five minutes remaining in the game after the Golden Eagles failed to keep up the pressure. Senior guard Angel Robinson believes returning to the Al McGuire Center will be good for the team after a two-game hiatus.
“We played a tough game on Saturday against Rutgers and we just lost it in the last minute or so,” Robinson said. “But it feels great to be back. It feels like a long time since we had a home game, especially against a ranked team.”
The Golden Eagles have been on a streaky campaign, having lost and then won every other game since their three-game win streak ended Jan. 5.
“We have been working on our press, our traps and just keeping an up-tempo game,” sophomore forward Jessica Pachko said. “We need to just keep working. This is the time of the season where you have to pull the wins together. You can’t go back and forth.”
So far this season, the Hoyas have managed to outscore their opponents by nearly 15 points per game. Even when the team lost to Dayton back in November, it was by only three points.
The Golden Eagles are going to have to get off to a quick start since Georgetown scores the majority of its points in the first half. But Pachko said the team’s full court defense will prevent the Hoyas from getting off to the fast start they want.
The biggest threat to the Golden Eagles will come in the form of Sugar Rodgers, Monica McNutt and Jaleesa Butler, all of whom average double digits in points per game. The trio contributes in a variety of ways. McNutt excels at the charity stripe, where she is a 90.7 percent (49-of-54) free throw shooter. Rodgers currently leads the Big East in scoring with 18.6 points per game. And Butler is leading the team with 7.4 rebounds per game.
“They have talented personnel,” Nason said. “Some shoot, some penetrate, and we have to know the difference. But really we have to play a full 40 minutes.”
Playing 40 minutes is something Marquette needs to work on after slipping to Rutgers late in the game on Saturday, with two and a half minutes remaining in the game.
“We can’t expect to play 30 minutes and expect to win,” Nason added.