AUSTIN MILLER | ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Winning in a conference such as the Big East is difficult as it is. Winning on the road, however, is even tougher. But the Butler women’s basketball team has figured things out pretty nicely.
During their current seven-game winning streak in Big East play, the Bulldogs are 3-0 in games away from Hinkle Fieldhouse. That includes two nationally televised games against St. John’s University and rival Xavier University.
“Winning on the road takes grit, and it takes heart,” sophomore guard Loryn Goodwin said. “You have to want it more than the other team.”
Apparently, the Bulldogs want it. During January, Butler has been giving up just 58.0 points per game on the road. That must continue if the Bulldogs want to maintain their recent success, as they still have to play the final two games of a three-game road swing at Providence College and Creighton University this weekend.
“Defensive stops are so key on the road,” first-year head coach Kurt Godlevske said. “You have to be focused and understand what you are trying to accomplish on each possession.”
The Butler coaching staff said they understand the significance of playing—and winning—nationally televised games is immeasurable.
“The exposure from those games is essential for us,” Godlevske said. “We have to have those in order to recruit the type of athletes we need to be successful in the Big East. Those games are also great for the student-athlete experience.”
Although the coaching staff may see things that way, the players made it clear that the games do not make a difference for them.
“It does not really change anything for us,” Goodwin said. “We just have to come out with more intensity.”
“You still have to focus and you still have to be able to follow the gameplan to win,” senior forward Ijeoma Uchendu said. “It is just about taking care of business.”
Night in and night out, the Big East has proven to be a very deep conference this year, though it still remains unclear how many bids the conference will receive when the field for the NCAA Tournament is selected in March. With so much parity amongst its teams, each game in the Big East is invaluable.
“We can’t afford off days,” Godlevske said. “Anybody can beat anybody in this league and you cannot afford any lapses.”
“The Big East is such a grind,” Goodwin said. “It’s all about being prepared every single night.”
The Bulldogs will seek their eighth win in a row Friday night when they travel to Providence and then finish the road trip on Sunday at Creighton.
This coming weekend, the Bulldogs will visit a pair of teams they have already beaten this year, each by five points at Hinkle
The Bulldogs hope to finish what has been a memorable month of January by beating the same team they began the month with. That game was a 66-61 back-and-forth battle which featured 16 lead changes. The Friars (5-15, 2-7 Big East) are currently ninth in the 10-team league.
“We have to execute and make our reads better this time around,” Godlevske said, “and we have to keep them off the glass and out of the paint.”
Butler caps off its road trip Sunday with its visit to Omaha.
Butler did away with the Blue Jays back on Jan. 4 by a score of 63-58. Goodwin was masterful in that one, outdueling Big East Preseason Player of the Year Marissa Janning by scoring 26 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.
“There are no secrets when you play a team for the second time as far as what you want to do and what they want to do,” Godlevske said. “It just comes down to execution.”