By: Connor Onion & Alex Seitz | Ball State Sports Link
Grit. Determination. Leadership.
All three are trademarks engrained in Katie Murphy by prior teammates.
As a young post-player yearning to reach her full potential, Murphy took after one of the most accomplished forward’s in Ball State Women’s Basketball history in Emily Maggert.
Three years Murphy’s senior, Maggert secured her place in the Ball State and Mid-American Conference record books during Katie’s freshman season. Maggert finished her career as the third-leading scorer and rebounder in program history.
“Emily Maggert,” Murphy said. “That’s something my coaches were just in my ear about. What a great role model to watch.”
Maggert’s influence as both a capable basketball player and mentor, paid dividends for Murphy as her collegiate career progressed.
After experiencing the normal growing pains for a college freshman and learning from one of the best, Murphy made the crossover into a leadership role.
“When you guys watch Haley [Richardson], that was me as a freshman”, Murphy said.
Understanding how overwhelming the adjustment to the college game can be, Murphy has taken Richardson -- a freshman forward -- under her wing, much like Maggert’s encouragement during Katie’s freshman season.
If Richardson is seeking guidance from a prolific scorer, she won’t find it in Murphy.
You are more likely to catch the 6-foot-0 senior out of Peoria, Ill., on the floor taking a charge or diving for a loose ball, rather than stuffing the stat sheet.
“Katie’s not so much of a vocal leader as she is just showing [others] what it takes”, senior point guard Brandy Woody said. “She is always that person to tell us to keep our heads up and just keep fighting.”
Murphy and Woody represent the 2013-14 team’s lone seniors. The duo enters the month of March fighting to recreate a postseason run from a year ago.
Fight is another trait never lacking in a Katie Murphy-led team, exemplified by the Cardinals’ upset of Minnesota, 54-51, in the first round of the 2013 Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
In typical Murphy fashion, her contributions were not flashy. However, six rebounds and a stingy defensive performance, limiting Gophers’ forward Kionna Kellogg to only seven points, went a long way in Ball State securing the triumph.
“We ended up coming out on top,” Murphy said. “And it was just one of those moments where you are so happy you could cry.”
The signature win in Murphy’s career may have never occurred had it not been for her tradition-rich, basketball family.
With Murphy’s grandpa coaching, her Dad receiving Division I scholarship offers out of high school and her uncle, Ray Giacoletti, serving as the head coach at Drake, it was inevitable she too would pick up a basketball.
“It was inevitable I was going to play,” Murphy said. “The person getting the hustle plays and the rebounds. That’s just what I do.”
With each defensive close out and dive on the floor for a loose ball, she has created a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.
While known for her work on the glass, rebounding from the graduation of Katie Murphy will be no simple task for Ball State.
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