Five-foot-7 Urquhart closes in on North Carolina Wesleyan rebound record

Published 11:33 am Thursday, February 21, 2013

Southampton High School graduate Samantha Urquhart has scored nearly 1,100 points during her career at North Carolina Wesleyan. SUBMITTED

Southampton High School graduate Samantha Urquhart has scored nearly 1,100 points during her career at North Carolina Wesleyan. SUBMITTED

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C.—During her four-year basketball career at North Carolina Wesleyan, Samantha Urquhart has set a school record for free-throws and scored more than 1,000 points.

The 5-foot-7, 2009 Southampton High School graduate is points shy of setting the record for rebounds for the Battling Bishops, whose 11 conference wins were the most for the program in more than a decade.

Urquhart will likely be named Most Valuable Player more than any other athlete in the history of the school in Rocky Mount, N.C. She has received the honor annually since her freshman year and is expected to get it this year. The player’s named will be announced during a spring banquet.

An elementary education major, Urquhart also has a 3.7 grade-point average.

“She’s done everything we asked of her,” said Head Coach Artina Trader. “You really couldn’t ask for a better student-athlete because she comes in every day, works hard and excels in the classroom.”

During the current season, Urquhart broke the career free-throw record with 374, said North Wesleyan Sports Information Officer Rikki Rich. Lisa Tyson set the previous record in 1994 with 373.

On Feb. 2 against Piedmont, Urquhart scored a team-high 19 points and became the 11th women’s basketball player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark. She’s expected to finish seventh on the all-time scoring list, Trader said. She had scored a career, 1,097 points when the regular season ended Sunday.

Urquhart is the second, all-time rebounder with 748. Tyson holds the record with 785. Depending on how North Carolina Wesleyan does in the USA South Athletic Conference Tournament, which opens today, Feb. 22, Urquhart could break that record, too, Rich said.

“We are ranked fourth seed and if we win against Methodist University and advance to the championships (she could do it),” Rich said.

Urquhart averages 12 to 13 rebounds per game and had a season-high of 19 this year.

“She’s only 5-foot-7,” Trader said. “Typically rebounders are 6 foot. The person who held the record was in the 6-foot range. I think that is the most impressive mark for her.”

“Typically she’s going up against girls in the conference in excess of 6 feet, yet she’s pulling down rebounds,” Rich added.

Urquhart is a three-time All-Conference selection. On Wednesday, it was announced that she was a Second Team selection for 2013 after scoring 12.5 points per game. She ranks in the top 15 in scoring and top five in rebounding among league opponents.

Aronda Bell coached Urquhart at Southampton High, where she also scored more than 1,000 points.

“She was a very diligent worker and worked hard to do her best,” Bell said. “She always worked hard to make sure her team was successful.”

Her mother, Dorothy Urquhart, is proud of her daughter.

“I think she’s awesome,” said Urquhart, a sixth-grade teacher at Southampton Middle School. “I honestly believe it was her walking with the Lord that has gotten her this. She always gives 200 percent.”

The Battling Bishops will miss Samantha Urquhart next season.

“I think it will be a great loss just because of her leadership qualities,” Trader said. “That’s the nature of the college athlete.”

“Anytime you lose a leader, that is a huge loss to your team that you’re gonna feel,” Rich added. “She leads by example in the locker room and classroom. She’s really one of a kind and most humble.”