Senior Meghan Murray breaks program scoring mark as Hampton girls hit stride

Saturday, February 3, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Hampton star guard Meghan Murray sank a half-court shot to end the first quarter against Mars on Jan. 22, but her next basket was even more dramatic.

Minutes after her buzzer-beater, Murray scored on a fast-break layup in the second quarter to become the girls basketball program’s all-time scoring leader. The 5-foot-5 Kent State recruit had entered the night needing eight points to pass Ali Collins, who scored 1,383 points from 2015-18.

“I was definitely nervous going into it,” Murray said. “I think that’s why I had kind of a slow start. I was thinking about it a little. But once I broke (the record), I got to play how I normally play instead of thinking about it.”

Despite getting off to a sluggish start — she didn’t score her first points until the final minute of the first quarter — Murray finished with a career-high 38 points in a 54-42 comeback victory over Section 2-5A rival Mars.

Hampton, which had trailed visiting Mars 12-3 late in the first quarter, used the Murray-led rally to avenge an earlier loss. The surging Talbots (11-6, 6-2 in Section 2-5A) have clinched a WPIAL playoff berth for the 30th time in the past 32 seasons. After a 2-5 start, Hampton went 9-1 in a month-long stretch from late December to late January.

“I think we are playing really well together,” Murray said. “We are back into a groove.”

The Mars game was stopped briefly following Murray’s milestone basket, and she was awarded the basketball for safekeeping and received applause from the home crowd — which included Kent State coach Todd Starkey — and congratulations from her teammates and coaches.

Murray admits all of the praise in the middle of a game was “awkward.”

“It was just weird,” she said. “When you score a basket, it’s not like everyone gives you hugs and all that. It was kind of awkward when everyone was coming up to me and saying stuff to me, but it was also super cool that people acknowledged it.”

Murray, the youngest of six children with five older brothers, gives Hampton fans a lot to cheer about. Some of her highlights this season include 29 points and 13 assists against New Castle, 28 in the first meeting with Mars and a then-career-high 34 in a narrow West Coast win over Olympian (Calif.).

Murray, who entered Hampton’s Jan. 30 game against Fox Chapel with 1,432 career points, has started since her first game as a freshman. She has missed only two games — for covid contact tracing as a sophomore — and has improved her scoring each season. She averaged 6.1 as a freshman, 15.3 as a sophomore and 19.7 as a junior. Through Jan. 29, she is averaging 23.5 points this season — top five in the WPIAL — for the Talbots.

Hampton coach Tony Howard said Murray is an atypical career scoring leader. She is a point guard who values facilitating as much as scoring and, although no records are available, Murray would be certain to rank among the school’s all-time assist leaders.

“If you look at other schools and other teams, their all-time leaders in points, you don’t see those girls really make other kids on the court better very much,” Howard said. “To be honest, that’s one of Meghan’s greatest attributes.”

Murray, who is virtually certain to receive unanimous first-team all-Section 2-5A honors for the third straight season, has improved her defense this season. She helped limit Armstrong high-scoring senior guard Emma Paul to 11 points in their first meeting. Paul had scored a school single-game record 45 points against Mars four days earlier.

“She’s really taken it to another level on the defensive end of the court this year,” Howard said of Murray. “She wants the toughest matchup.”

As expected, Murray is often the target of opposing defenses designed to stop her. When Highlands double-teamed Murray on Jan. 25, senior forward Emma Rick scored 16 points in a 40-32 Talbots victory. Murray still scored a game-high 18 points, but a lesson was learned.

Highlands threw everything at us. It was on the road, nonsection. There weren’t many whistles in Natrona Heights for us. Meghan was getting mugged,” Howard said. “Emma Rick really stepped up. That was gigantic for us. We have kids who can score. It’s just not in their habit. We are working on some of that stuff. … We expect to see a lot more of that junk stuff on Meghan down the stretch.”

Top Talbot

Hampton senior guard Meghan Murray is the all-time leading scorer for Hampton girls basketball.

Player Points Graduated

Meghan Murray, 1,432*, 2024

Ali Collins, 1,383, 2018

Nadine Fazio, 1,364, 1995

Laryn Edwards, 1,314, 2018

Kim Bridge, 1,200, 1987

Jodie Luther, 1,087, 2008

*As of Jan. 29


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