Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The anatomy of DePaul's 12-game win streak away from McGrath-Phillips Arena

                             Photo Credit: DePaul Athletics

Winning on the road can be a challenge for any team, no matter the sport.

For the DePaul Blue Demons, a 12-game winning streak away from McGrath-Phillips Arena which started with a 77-64 victory at Northwestern on Dec. 19 came at the perfect time. 

After a three-game stretch away from the State of Illnois in the second week of December at Notre Dame, Texas A&M and South Dakota State, DePaul went 1-2 and applied those lessons into its current streak, highlighted by wins against Seton Hall, St. John's and Louisville.

Treats, treats, treats:

After eeking out a 73-72 win against No. 3 seed Louisville in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 20, DePaul veered from its normal 5-hour bus ride from Louisville to Chicago to make a stop at Culver's Restaurant for ice cream.

January and the rest of the Blue Demons were not used to making impromptu stops on road trips during the season, but BIG EAST Player of the Year Chanise Jenkins convinced everyone to make a unified trip to Culver's.

"Normally we don't stop after road games, but after one trip earlier in the season, we wanted to stop for ice cream, but everyone was too tired," January said. "After the win at Louisville, Chanise [Jenkins], who really likes ice cream, wanted us to stop for it this time and it was so good."

One-game season:

DePaul coach Doug Bruno refuses to get caught up in cliches as No. 2 seed Oregon State lurks in the shadow in the regional semifinal on Saturday at Dallas (5 p.m., ESPN/WatchESPN) with a spot in the Elite Eight at stake.

"The Elite Eight is something that matters to the media and the fans," Bruno said. 

"What matters to us is one in a row against Oregon State and that is how we approach every game. If we are going to get hung up on numbers, then we should get hung up with the fact we are a 6 seed and they are a 2 seed. You don't get hung up on it and what it comes to is either we beat them one in a row or they beat us one in a row, that's what the NCAA Tournament is all about."

Jenkins adopted a similar thought process in preparation for Oregon State.

"Of course, we want to be the first team to make it to the Elite Eight, but we have to win the game in order to do that, so our focus is on [Oregon State]," Jenkins said.

With a win against the Beavers, the Blue Demons would earn their 13th straight victory outside of Chicago, but on a grander scale, the first ever Elite Eight game in program history. 

"To be able to make history at DePaul would be awesome," January said. 

"Coach Bruno has done a really good job of preparing us for road games at Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Baylor and Northwestern. I think that is why we are so good on the road and have a lot of confidence going into the [Oregon State] game."

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