By Ray Hamill — Former Eureka standout Kaylee Murphy appears to be enjoying life as a Banana Slug.
The UC Santa Cruz freshman was named this week’s Association of Division-III Independents women’s basketball Player of the Week, in recognition of a big weekend for the former Logger, in what has been an impressive debut campaign with the team.
“She’s a phenomenal basketball player, and I feel we’re just scratching the surface as to how good she can be,” Santa Cruz head coach Todd Kent said.
Murphy earned player of the week honors after averaging 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 4.0 steals in two games over the weekend, including a season-high 20 points at Saint Katherine on Friday.
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Remarkably it was the third time this season she has received the honor.
But that comes as no surprise to her coach, who believes the sky is the limit for the freshman forward.
“I’ve been around Division-III basketball for 10 years and I really feel if Kaylee puts in the time in the offseason she can become one of the better players to ever play at this university,” Kent said.
Murphy’s early impact with the program would suggest he could be right.
The 5-11 forward is one of eight freshmen on a roster of 15, including four starters, but has quickly evolved into one of the team’s most important players.
She leads the team in rebounds with 9.1 a game, including an impressive 6.5 a game on the defensive end.
She also has team-highs in assists (3.3), steals (2.3) and blocks (1.8), and is third in scoring (9.7) and minutes per game (26.3).
More importantly, she continues to show signs of improvement, and the coach has been impressed with how she is beginning to involve her teammates more, particularly this past weekend when she dished out 13 assists in the two games combined.
“She sees the court really well,” Kent said.
The coach also has been impressed with how quickly the former Eureka standout has settled into the collegiate game.
“She’s become a valuable part of what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said.
The Banana Slugs are 9-8 on the season.