Murphy's Huge Day Leads Women's Basketball To Pepsi Mariner Classic Title Game

Murphy's Huge Day Leads Women's Basketball To Pepsi Mariner Classic Title Game

CASTINE, Maine—Senior forward Olivia Murphy (Canton, Mass.) recorded a monster double-double of 19 points and 23 rebounds to lead UMass Boston women's basketball into Sunday's Championship Game of the Pepsi Mariner Classic.

THE BASICS

UMass Boston 68, Endicott College 65

(UMass Boston 1-0, Little East 0-0)

(Endicott College 0-1, Commonwealth Coast 0-0) 

HOW IT HAPPENED

Murphy and junior point guard Taje Burston (Springfield, Mass.) combined for 31 of the Beacons' 68 points, to help first-year head coach Kristina Baugh earn a victory in her first game with the Beacons. 

The Beacons jumped out to a 34-30 lead at the break and went up by as many as 10 in the third quarter, before hanging on for a three-point win. 

Murphy, who has already been named a Tournament MVP in three of the four in-season tournaments she's played in, started off her senior year strong.  

The Honorable Mention All-American posted her 41st double-double in the win, as she led all players with 19 points and pulled down 10 offensive rebounds and 23 overall. She finished 8-for-17 from the field and added four blocks, three steals and one steal in 29 minutes of action. 

Burston tacked on 12 points, while forwards Raven Kelsey (Boston, Mass.) and Katrina Edwards (Springfield, Mass.) combined for 16 points and 11 rebounds and Kelsey added six steals. 

Hannah Kiernan paced Endicott College with 15 points, while Kelsey Cuddy added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Ilyza Holman added 13 points off the bench for the Gulls, who were picked to finish fourth in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

UMass Boston ran out to a 14-5 lead in the opening 4:59 of the first quarter, thanks to five points apiece from Murphy and Burston. The Gulls would cut the deficit to 14-12, but Edwards and Burston hit back-to-back layups, to give the Beacons an 18-16 lead at the end of the first.

Endicott would cut the deficit to a single possession on two occasions in the second quarter, both on Holman 3-pointers, but freshman Ariana Rivera (Burlington, Mass.) and Burston answered back for the Beacons. Sophomore Katie Mathieu (Coventry, Conn.) followed up Burston's 3-pointer with her lone basket of the game, to help the Beacons earn a 34-30 lead at the half.

The Beacons came out of the half red-hot and earned their biggest lead of the game with a 7-1 run. Edwards and Murphy each hit jump shots and Kelsey knocked down a 3-pointer, to give the Beacons a 41-31 advantage with 7:35 to play in the third quarter. Endicott just wouldn't go away though, as Holman hit her third three of the game to cut the deficit to 48-45 heading into the fourth quarter. 

Neither side could gain any traction over the first four minutes of the fourth, until junior Shyanne Wellington (Springfield, Mass.) knocked down back-to-back shots to give the Beacons a 59-52 advantage with 4:44 to play.

Endicott would cut the deficit to 67-65 in the final 10 seconds, but Mathieu hit one of two free throws and the Gulls couldn't get a shot off in the final seconds.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Endicott held a slight 39.3 percent (24-of-61) to 38.8 percent (26-of-67) lead in field goal percentage. Both teams hit five 3-pointers, although the Beacons attempting six more shots from distance of the day (19-13).
  • UMass Boston owned a 43-36 edge on the boards and a 24-16 edge in points in the paint.
  • Rivera and freshman center Michaela Ilebode (Malden, Mass.) each made their collegiate debuts in the win.
  • The Beacons improved to 2-0 all-time against the Gulls and earned their third opening day win in four years.

WHO'S NEXT 

UMass Boston will face host Maine Maritime Academy in the Championship Game of the Pepsi Mariner Classic on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The Mariners defeated the University of Maine Presque-Isle 75-28 in the first semifinal on Saturday.