GCU women hope to move into Top 25 after beating No. 5

Today’s 72-60 win over Northwest Nazarine University upped the Grand Canyon University women’s basketball record to 8-1, but it was yesterday’s win that will do the most to move them into the nation’s Top 25.

A trio of local high school standouts led the way to yesterday’s 74-69 win over No. 5 Seattle Pacific, as Samantha Murphy, the senior guard from Xavier Prep in Phoenix had a game-high 27 points.  Maylinn Smith, a freshman from Gilbert’s Mesquite HS contributed 16 points off the bench, and senior guard Rosalyn Nelson from Deer Valley HS had 12 points.

Murphy and Nelson also led the attack on Northwest Nazarine, with 19 and 16 points respectively.  Murphy is the school’s all-time scoring leader and Nelson just moved into the No. 2 spot.

The win over Seattle Pacific should enable the Antelopes to step into the ranks of the ranked.  They have been close to breaking the Top 25, thanks to a mid-November win over then-No. 11 University of California San Diego (UCSD).

The ‘Lopes’ only blemish on their record this season was a 63-55 loss to Alaska-Anchorage in the second game on the schedule.  Since then, it’s been seven wins in a row.

Just a couple of weeks ago in that triple-overtime 120-118 victory over UCSD, this squad set five school records.  Murphy canned 49 points to break a 22-year-old single-game record and also dropped in 18 free throws for another new mark.

The 120 points and 238 combined points set two more school records, as did the 37 free throws.

In today’s game against Northwest Nazarine, the ‘Lopes took control early with an 18-2 run in the second period and managed to overcome 20 turnovers throughout the contest.

The difference in the outcome could be found on the boards and at the free throw line, as GCU held a 47-32 edge in rebounding and a 21-4 advantage at the line.

This weekend’s wins were part of the PacWest/GNAC Challenge in St. George, Utah.  Next up is the PacWest/CCAA Challenge that will take place in San Franciso next weekend.

(Photo: GCU Athletics/Tim Koors)