Win at Georgetown points team in right direction

In any sport, road wins are tough to come by. Going away from home, playing in unfamiliar surroundings and succeeding in front of a hostile crowd is a tough task regardless of the opponent.

Despite defeating the Georgetown Hoyas 80-65 Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., the Marquette women's basketball team is still 1-2 on the road in the Big East and can't seem to find a steady rhythm.

After the Golden Eagles were defeated 65-55 at Seton Hall on Jan. 10, coach Terri Mitchell stressed the importance of taking care of the ball and hitting clutch shots, especially when the team is away.

"If you are going to win on the road, you better be able to knock down shots when given the opportunity," Mitchell said. "We are just going to keep fighting.

"We've really committed to extra shooting. I can see it a mile away, the difference between shooting the ball confident or hopeful."

Marquette (12-7, 3-2 Big East) has two winnable games ahead of it in Syracuse (13-5, 2-3 Big East) at home and Pittsburgh (13-4, 3-2 Big East) on the road. Each win is becoming more and more important for Mitchell's squad.

These two match-ups could be crucial in Marquette's chance to salvage its season as it rounds out January and prepares for the final month of the regular season.

Earlier in the year, senior guard Krystal Ellis said that anything can happen in the powerful Big East conference.

"Any given day, any team in the Big East can win," Ellis said.

After defeating the Hoyas, the Golden Eagles have five more games away from home and must do a few things in order to ensure success.

Key to success

The obvious answer here is the play of Ellis. Ellis has at times looked like the pre-season All-America candidate she was named, but inconsistent play and minor injuries have limited her playing time and effectiveness. She did not play against Georgetown.

When Ellis plays well, the Golden Eagles play well. She is averaging 14.5 points per game in Marquette's victories this year. In the Golden Eagles' last five losses, however, Ellis has averaged only eight ppg.

X-factor

Freshman center Jessica Pachko has recently made a positive impact for the Golden Eagles and is third on the team in points per game and minutes per game. Pachko also leads Marquette in field-goal percentage at 55 percent. At 6-foot-2, Pachko is now Marquette's biggest and most reliable inside presence and will need to keep up her stellar play in order for the team to fire on all cylinders.

What must happen

Quality wins on the road. The Golden Eagles have proved they can win at home with their upset victory against the Fighting Irish. But they need to take that attitude on the road. They have lost two of three road games in the Big East and must find a way to win away from the Al McGuire Center.

After Marquette won its first Big East game, sophomore guard Angel Robinson said, "It's all about heart. We let the past go, and we're ready for Big East play, and we're getting ready for the next teams."

The Golden Eagles knew the Big East schedule wouldn't be kind, but their mindset will remain the same as the season goes on.