Brock perfect spot for final season
Brooke Murdoch can’t help but giggle when asked her age.
It’s like the Welland native can’t believe she is 22 years old.
“I’m the oldest girl on the team,” she said, with a laugh, after the Brock women’s basketball team fell 72-44 to the visiting Guelph Gryphons Wednesday in Ontario University Athletics action.
The 5-foot-7 guard doesn’t need any reminders that her fifth and final year of eligibility to play post-secondary basketball is coming to an end.
“I think of it every game knowing there is a chance that I may never play in Guelph again for the rest of my basketball career,” she said. “It hit close to home when Ashley (coach MacSporran) said it at the end of the game tonight that we’ll get Guelph next year and I won’t be part of the team.
“It is sad but I couldn’t have picked a better school to finish my career.”
The Jean Vanier grad isn’t sure where she will get her competitive fix once her post-secondary hoops career ends.
“I honestly hope that I am still involved somehow with the team because I will still be here finishing my degree,” she said. “Maybe I will be able to practise with the girls, stay in shape, keep playing basketball with them and watch them grow even better as a program.”
Murdoch arrived at Brock via Niagara College as part of the bridge program. She completed a two-year diploma at Niagara and will now spend two years finishing up a kinesiology degree at Brock.
“Schoolwise it made the transition better and being so close to home made it easier,” Murdoch said. “And once I met the girls and the coaching staff, I knew it was going to be a good fit to finish off my year.”
She is having fun.
“I am having a pretty good time,” she said. “The team is really good and the coaching staff provides so much support for us.
“With our numbers it is hard, but at the same time you get to play a lot of minutes and grow as a player.”
Because of a rash of injuries, the Badgers have played a number of games with seven or fewer healthy bodies.
“Fitness is part of the game,” Murdoch said. “We work so much on our fitness and it doesn’t faze us. You kind of push through it and Ashley is really good at calling timeouts to let us catch our breath.
Murdoch admits it’s difficult for the Badgers to be fighting for their playoff lives while being so short staffed.
“‘It’s frustrating at times but that is what is so nice about this program is the support that you have,” she said. “It’s mentally tough coming off a couple losses but you just have to get back in the gym and keep working and try to fix the things that aren’t working during the game.”
Murdoch, who came into the game averaging 4.6 rebounds, 4.3 points and 2.5 steals per game, had a team-high 15 points and six rebounds in Wednesday’s loss to Guelph.
“It was great to see Brooke shoot the ball well tonight,” MacSporran said. “I was talking to our coaches before the game about how we could get Brooke scoring. And then she goes 3-for-5 from three.”
Murdoch has been a key player for Brock all season and especially since the injury bug struck.
“She has had the ball in her hands at point guard since Ana (Caldeira Rua) went down and she hasn’t had to deal with this type of pressure,” MacSporran said. “Defensively she has been so solid and now with our injuries she has had to move down and play inside.
“She has been outstanding and she has been a great leader.”
Brock hung tough with the Gryphons in the first half trailing 29-27 after 20 minutes, but Guelph put the game out of reach in the third quarter by outscoring Brock 23-2.
“After playing No. 7 in the country (Windsor last Saturday), they are gassed and they pressed us for 40 minutes,” MacSporran said.
There was certainly no mercy in university basketball Wednesday night.
“It doesn’t help anybody at that point,” MacSporran said. “It doesn’t do anybody any good but it is what it is.
“We look tired in the third and Courtney (McPherson) wasn’t feeling well.”
McPherson is a big part of what makes Brock go.
“She is our heartbeat,” MacSporran said. “She is our rebounder and she set screens and that’s kind of what we do on offence.”
Gryphons 72 Badgers 44
BPSN Star of the Game: Brock’s Brooke Murdoch with 15 points and six rebounds.
For the Brock Badgers: Murdoch 15; Baelie Campbell 13; Courtney McPherson 7.
For the Guelph Gryphons: Burke Bechard 14; Megan Brenkel 11; Julia Kokonis 10.
Game stats: Field goal percentage: Brock 26.7, Guelph 43.1. Free throws: Brock 15-22, Guelph 14-21. Rebounds: Brock 31, Guelph 43. Turnovers: Brock 25, Guelph 12. Scoring by quarters: Brock 15-12-2-15=44, Guelph 18-11-23-20=72.
Up next: Brock hosts Waterloo Saturday at 6 p.m. at The Bob.