Olivia Murdock scored 20 points on Saturday against Pratt. She had 35 points all of last season.
Olivia Murdock scored 20 points on Saturday against Pratt. She had 35 points all of last season.

The way Olivia Murdock was playing on Saturday afternoon against Pratt one would have thought she played that way every single night.

She was crashing the boards, taking passes in the post, and putting in easy lay-ups with a foul, and she was making her defender simply look silly.

Had someone seen her playing for the first time for ICC on Saturday they would have thought she was the star of the Lady Pirate roster with her 20 points and 18 rebounds.

No one would have guessed that her 20 points scored on Saturday were more than half of what she scored all of last season.

Murdock's double-double was the first of her career with the Lady Pirates and the 20 points was more than double what she had scored in any game last season, the 18 rebounds were more than triple, and the 12 free throws she took was just one shy of her entire total in the 2015-16 season.

This was the sophomore's breakout game, and in all honesty, taking into account her bloodlines and family's history with the Independence basketball program, it may have just been a matter of time before she had a game like this.

Murdock is a third generation Pirate. Her grandfather, known affectionately as Papa G, and her mother Holly Moss (formerly Murdock), both played basketball at ICC and had a lot of success with the program.

"I never thought it would be realistic that I would come here but Coach Crane saw me one game and it happened," Murdock said.

Her grandfather was part of a program in mid 20th century that won three national titles from 1963-1978 and produced talented player after talented player that went on to bigger and better things.

Her mother Holly Moss was part of one of the best generations of women's basketball at ICC. The Lady Pirates went to the national championship in 1996 which was right around the time Moss was playing for the Lady Pirates.

With bloodlines like that, a 20 and 18 night came as little surprise to many including her head coach Leslie Crane.

"Olivia is capable of doing that every night and I'm sure from now on she will," Crane said. "Because she went hard to the ball, our kids blocked out, and there were times that Jordan (Schoenberger) and Alek (Akuen) had the paint completely blocked out and Olivia just went and snatched it, and that's what you've got to do.

"She went hard to the ball to get the rebound, she went hard to the ball on the offensive end, so it's great, I'm glad to see that."

And Crane knows as well as anyone what Murdock is capable of because she knows the family very well.

In fact, in the early 90s Crane actually coached Moss as part of a select basketball team that she took to the Soviet Union.

She coached that tournament along with current ICC Athletic Director and head coach of the Lady Pirates from 1991-1993 Tammie Geldenhuys. 

During those years the Lady Pirates went 51-16 and finished in fourth place at the national tournament.

Moss was a big part of that production, so when Olivia was starting to make an impact with a Columbus team that went 15-6 in her senior year with the program, Crane knew she was going to give her a look.

"I went and visited," Crane said. "I've know Holly a long time and we talked, I talked to (the) grandparents, all of it.

"She was very hesitant last year with a lot of things, but this year she's been doing well, she's been coming along, and she was just a great match-up tonight for us, so I'm proud for her."

That is one thing about the success that Murdock had on Saturday night. The match-up was supremely in her favor.

Murdock is kind of a tweener, she's not a 6-foot-2 post or a 5-foot-7 guard, she stands at 5-foot-10 and really isn't asked to shoot much. In fact, she has not shot a three-pointer in two years with ICC.

But what she can do is play both the No. 3 and No. 4 spot on the court. And when a team goes small like Pratt did on Saturday as they played a lot of four guard sets, Murdock has a huge size advantage.

With that advantage on Saturday she reeled in 18 rebounds while she had a total of 50 in 30 games last season.

It was a match-up ICC knew they could exploit but it Murdock to put the plan to work.

"Coach Crane moved me to the four, and I usually play a guard so I was playing the post and I had the advantage on my post because I played post through high school," Murdock said. "So I just had the advantage."

At the same time Murdock creates a lot of match-up advantages for the Lady Pirates when teams go big. She is almost always quicker than most posts she matches up with and can get to loose balls quicker or get them to extend out on her to spread the floor for the Lady Pirates.

Then in their motion offense she can run a post all over the floor which can create problems too.

She is an effective player off of the bench and certainly showed that on Saturday. And like Crane said, she hopes that it will extend into conference play where Murdock's versatility can really help the Lady Pirates in this grueling 26-game conference schedule that just started on Saturday.

"As I tell the kids, everybody has a role and you've got to be ready when you're called because we could call on you at any time," Crane said. "Because it's not just those first five, I mean, you've got 15 of them, so it's got to be all of them, they all have a role and they've all got to be able to accept it and perform when they need to."

That's exactly what Murdock did. ICC was down 8-0 before Murdock came in the game. After trailing by eight in the first quarter the Lady Pirates outscored Pratt 88-23 the rest of the game.

Murdock had 20 of those points in the game and 12 of their 35 in the first half. She was ready when called upon just like she was ready when Coach Crane gave her the opportunity to play at essentially her family's alma mater.

"At first it was hard because everyone would say 'Oh, you're a Murdock, you have to live up to the expectations of your mom and Grandpa,' but no," Murdock said. "I'm glad that I get to be here and follow them."