There are so many things to like about Erin Murphey's basketball game.
The Western Maryland College point guard is a tenacious defender with the quickness to harass any opposing guard. A similar agility goes well with her ball-handling skills, enabling her to get through any press.
It doesn't stop there. She loves the fact she has so many choices. Along with her 16-point average, three other starters are averaging in double digits for the Green Terror. Murphey can drive, dish off or score on her own.
"And she's only a junior," Western Maryland coach Becky Martin is quick to add.
After a solid sophomore season, Murphey has taken her game to another level and the Green Terror has followed suit.
Murphey, a Francis Scott Key grad, also is averaging four assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Going into tonight's game at Gallaudet, the Green Terror (13-3 overall and 8-2 in the Centennial Conference) is ranked for the first time this season in Division III's Mid-Atlantic region, coming in at seventh. A handful of freshmen have stepped up along with a solid base of returners from last year's 14-9 team. All of the key components are underclassmen.
"We're still such a young team with all the new freshmen," Murphey said. "It has all just come together and things are clicking. Everyone gets along and we're having a lot of fun."
Martin said Murphey has added more confidence and assertiveness to her game this season.
"The transformation from her sophomore year to her junior year has been incredible," she said. "Last year, she was still a little tentative. Seeing her play in high school, you saw the kind of potential she had. It was just a matter of her gaining confidence and refining her skills and that takes time to make the transition. She did a super job as a freshman and sophomore, but has really taken off."
Martin's system is a perfect complement to Murphey's strengths.
"From year to year you get more confidence and the team playing so well also helps," Murphey said. "We have three people who can handle the ball. Fast break is our game and if we can run, we have success."
Murphey, who's majoring in phys ed, also does plenty of running on the women's soccer team in the fall. That team also is building a solid foundation. But right now her attention is directed toward running the Green Terror offense on the hardwood.
The Green Terror was predicted to finish last in the Centennial Conference's West Division, despite the solid record last season. Murphey and company are enjoying proving everyone wrong.
"It's OK, Coach likes us being the underdog. It makes you want to show them," Murphey said.