One thing about small schools with evolving sports programs… there are plenty of records to set in the early stages.
Grand Canyon University in Phoenix is a small (25,000 enrollment), private college in Phoenix and, although it was founded in 1949, its sports programs have been really growing and evolving in recent years.
A week ago its women’s basketball coach, Trent May, became the school’s all-time winningest coach – in just his third year at the helm of the program. He hit 50 wins to take over the title.
Over the weekend, Samantha Murphy became the program’s all-time leading scorer when she tallied a team-high 16 points in the final game of a four-game series in Hawaii. Those 16 points against University of Hawaii-Hilo added up to 1,286 for her career, eclipsing the 1,281 points collected by Jennifer Cobb in her 2002-07 career at the school.
And Murphy, a graduate of nearby Xavier Prep HS, is still a junior. By the time she wraps up her career, she may leave a legacy that will stand for some time.
The Antelopes had a little trouble getting their game on track against Hilo, going into the locker room at halftime two points down, but then rallied to outscore the Vulcans 43-20 in the second half. The ‘Lopes had four players in double figures: Murphy, Ashley Hardin from Marcos de Niza HS (14), Kia Gibson (12), and Kristi Girdley (12).
Murphy has a teammate also moving up the career scoring list, as Stacy Haddow from Chino Valley HS, moved up to No. 4 with 895 career points. She is also third on the GCU all-time rebounding list with 586, just 33 boards behind No. 2 Shannon Mustin, who graduated in 1991.
GCU has been a force in recent years in women’s basketball, winning the past three PacWest titles. The win against Hawaii-Hilo gives the ‘Lopes sole possession of second place, just one game behind Hawaii Pacific.
The ‘Lopes have met and beat Hawaii Pacific once already, in a 56-55 thriller, and are scheduled to host them for a March 4 contest. That game may determine the conference champion and who gets the automatic bid to the NCAA West Regional.