Olivia Murphy is just the third player to pull down 1,000 career rebounds for the University of Massachusetts Boston women’s basketball program. The 6-foot senior from Canton reached the milestone with an 18-carom performance in a 1-point loss to Plymouth State last month.
Third in program history in rebounds (1,039), second in field goals, and third in points (1,438) and blocked shots (161), Murphy is currently averaging a team-best 16.8 points and 13.0 rebounds fo
r the Beacons (10-9).
“She is a special talent, an amazing spirit, a great teammate, and a 6-foot-2 athletic lefty competitor,” said Kristina Baugh, the Beacons’ interim women’s basketball coach.
An exercise health science major, she was the Little East and ECAC Rookie of the Year as a freshman and the program’s first WBCA Division 3 All-American. Her sister, Julia, is a junior on UMB’s volleyball team.
Q. Who taught you to rebound?
A. When I was 8, I began playing basketball, but did not enjoy it because all I did was run and no one passed the ball to me. I told my father following my first game that I did not want to play anymore. But he said you need to get the rebounds, so that is where it came into play, realizing I needed to get the ball, I need to rebound. My father continues to remind me if I am struggling that my game is rebounding, so I just focus on that and everything else falls into place.
Q. How did that conversation with your father turn you into a rebounding machine, at both ends of the floor?
A. Playing for my high school and AAU teams’ added fuel to my fire of wanting to rebound more and get the ball every time I was on offense or defense. I wanted others to notice that I work hard because rebounding to me is working hard. I wanted to make a difference on every team I competed for whether it be my high school or AAU teams.
Q. Best message or lesson you have learned from a coach or a mentor on basketball?
A. My current coach, Kristina Baugh, emphasizes a lot of effort and hard work on a given game day and practice, so I think that has inspired me to play my best . . . Giving it your all no matter if you make a mistake is important to me, so that is what she made me realize this season.
Q. Was reaching 1,000 rebounds a goal heading into your first season with the Beacons?
A. I did not reach 1,000 rebounds in high school — I came close, but did not reach the milestone . . . I initially thought reaching 1,000 points would be a great accomplishment, but I really wanted 1,000 rebounds — that was the goal, and I told my sister (Julia) and my dad that is my ultimate goal. When I was closing in on 1,000 rebounds, my sister, mother and father were all counting down and keeping me informed, but I did not want to think about it. Once I reached 1,000 rebounds there was a media timeout and that was when the public address announcer announced it. It was such a great moment and I felt finally I had accomplished my goal, and my parents and sister were there, and then coach (Baugh) told me she had never seen anyone get 1,000 rebounds. She said it took guts, but it was a really good feeling.