By Ray Hamill — A number of local basketball players are in the midst of big seasons at the collegiate level, many of them on winning teams.
At Whitman College in Washington, former Arcata standout Kaylie McCracken is enjoying an impressive campaign for the Blues, who moved up to No. 8 in the nation in the latest NCAA Division-III poll this week.
McCracken has been a force off the bench for the Whitman women, who are 12-1 and have won six straight games dating back to early December.
The 2018 Big 5 MVP is averaging 9.2 points a game in her sophomore collegiate campaign, which is third best on the team, as well as 6.5 boards, second best on the team.
McCracken finished with nine points and nine rebounds in her last outing, and appears to be growing stronger as the season progresses, pulling down nine or more rebounds in five of her last six games.
The Blues, who moved up four spots in the national rankings this week, will play at Pacific University on Friday.
The former Eureka Logger is enjoying a stellar season at UC Santa Cruz, including outings of 20 and 22 points in two of her last three games.
The Banana Slugs are 7-9, including an 81-79 loss to Cal Lutheran on Monday, with Murphy accounting for 22 points and 19 rebounds in the loss and finishing 10 of 10 at the free-throw line.
For the season, Murphy is averaging 13.8 points a game, second best on her team, as well as averaging team-highs in rebounds (12.6), steals (2.4) and blocks (2.3).
The 6-foot forward is a 2018 Eureka High graduate.
The independent Banana Slugs play at Chico State on Saturday.
The former Eureka and CR standout is playing this season at Notre Dame de Namur in the Bay Area and has had an immediate impact.
Purify has started in six of the 14 games for the Division-II Argonauts, who are 3-13 overall and 1-9 in conference.
Purify is averaging 5.9 points a game, and finished with nine points and four rebounds in a game at Chaminade last weekend.
The Argonauts host Holy Names on Friday.
Northern, an Arcata High graduate and a former Fortuna High and CR player, is enjoying an impressive final season as a senior at Sonoma State.
The Seawolves are 10-5 overall and 6-4 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and right in the mix in a loaded field of contenders.
And Northern has played a key role in her team’s success, including dishing out a season-high six assists in a 58-51 win at San Francisco State on Saturday.
The 5-foot-9 senior guard also scored 12 points in the win, matching her second-highest points total of the season.
For the season, Northern is averaging 7.5 points a game and is second on the team with 2.1 assists a game.
She scored a season-high 19 points earlier in the season at Humboldt State, where she played briefly before transferring to CR.
Northern and the Seawolves play at CSU Monterey Bay on Thursday.
Busby-Dunphy, a former Eureka Logger, recently committed to play at D-I Alabama, but will finish out her freshman season at Dodge City Community College in Kansas.
This season she is is averaging 4.8 points and 5.7 rebounds for the 9-8 Conquistadors, starting in eight games, including the last four.
The former Logger has two double-doubles on the year.
The 2019 Eureka graduate is playing this winter at Oregon Tech, where she is averaging 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds a game for the 11-6 Owls, who have lost two straight, including a 61-56 loss at Southern Oregon on Wednesday.
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