IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Editor’s Note: Cate and Maggie Murdock helped New Trier claim a record in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Murdocks are one of 45 sets of twins at the high school. See news story.
The New Trier girls basketball roster lists senior Cate Murdock as a 5-foot-9 guard.
Her twin Maggie, another guard, stands 5-8, according to the roster.
“False, false, false … that’s false,” Maggie Murdock, beaming and standing about a foot from Cate after a recent home game, insists. “We’re the same height.”
Maggie wants to prove it, right then and there. So she gently bumps the right side of her body into Cate’s left side, settles down and stands still.
Cate stands still, too.
“See,” says Maggie, motioning her left hand slightly above both heads. “We’re the same height.”
Most of their statistical averages through Jan. 15 (for a 15-5 team) could share a wardrobe without ever having to worry about finding a tailor.
Cate: 23 minutes, 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.8 deflections..
Maggie: 22 minutes, 8.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.9 steals, 1.9 deflections.
Maggie — a point guard and a shooting guard — handles the ball more often than Cate does, but they defend perimeter players with approaches that are hard to differentiate. Cate and Maggie trapped an Evanston Wildkit near midcourt in the fourth quarter of a 52-45 home loss on Jan. 12, resulting in a jump ball. Cate was saddled with four fouls at the time.
“Both work hard, really hard,” Trevians coach Teri Rodgers says of the Glencoe residents and third-year varsity hoopsters. “Nobody outworks Cate and Maggie. And they’re coachable, very good listeners.”
They were competitive gymnasts once upon a time, before realizing their love for executing plays on hardwood surpassed their love for executing routines on mats in the seventh grade.
One of the twins’ three younger sisters, NT sophomore Maeve Murdock, tied for first place on the balance beam at the state gymnastics meet last winter. Volleyball is Cara Murdock’s main sport, and the twins see Nora Murdock majoring in basketball — and becoming the tallest of the five sisters.
“You have to have a lot of mental toughness in gymnastics; Maeve has that,” Maggie says. “It’s such an important part of that sport. The amount she has, how she’s able to use it to focus on all of her routines … it’s impressive.”
Cate Murdock, five minutes older than her twin, earned all-Central Suburban League South honors last year after pacing an 18-10 squad in points per game (10.9), assists (72) and steals (50). Maggie Murdock averaged 8.1 points, shot a team-best 41.9 percent (57-for-136) from three-point range and ranked second among teammates in assists with 60.
This winter it might be hard for Cate to top what Maggie did at the end of a game against Stevenson at the Dundee-Crown Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29. With her team down 45-44 and the ball in her hands at midcourt, Maggie shoved a shot as the clock melted toward 0:00 in regulation.
Cate had to view the launch from the bench, since she had fouled out earlier in the quarter.
The ball fell through the net, and a jubilant bunch of Trevs rushed to celebrate a 47-45 victory with a certain guard who must have felt considerably taller than 5-9.
“Nearly a swish,” Maggie recalls. “As I watched the shot, I had a good feeling about it.”
Cate’s top 2017-18 moment to date was a clutch reverse layup late in a loss to host Evanston on Dec. 1. In the teams’ second matchup at New Trier last weekend, in front of a packed, raucous crowd, she made a nifty move at the beginning of a dribble drive to create a clear path for herself. Her ensuing layup made it a 41-41 game with 3:36 left in the fourth quarter.
Maggie, no doubt, has attempted to halt that move a time or 200 in between games.
“We like to go one-on-one, work on our games and battle together, either at LA Fitness or here (NTHS),” Cate says.
Their father Sean is an Evanston graduate and a University of Notre Dame alumnus. Mom Bridget, a Lyons Township product with a background in gymnastics, also graduated from ND, a school Cate and Maggie are considering in their college searches.
The twins are interested in math and science.
“I see Maggie as a physical therapist after college,” Cate says.
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Maggie says, “if Cate becomes a nurse.”
Each twin has a reason for her career prediction for the other.
Maggie has dealt with knee issues in her playing career, and Cate underwent an appendectomy in her sophomore year.
Their primary focus, beginning next month: Operation Lengthy Postseason Run.
Or something like that.
“We’re already halfway through this season,” Maggie says with an incredulous look. “The last three seasons — they went by so quickly. Now this one; it’s doing the same thing.”
“Crazy,” adds Cate. “High school years go fast, way too fast, especially this one. I don’t like it.”
Notable: Cate Murdock tossed in a game-high-tying 14 points and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds in NT’s 52-45 loss to visiting Evanston on Jan. 12. The setback left the Trevians with a 4-2 mark in the Central Suburban League South, with both losses coming against Evanston’s Wildkits. Trevians sophomore reserve guard Tinah Hong scored 11, including a three-pointer that gave the hosts a 35-34 lead in the final minute of the third quarter. The Trevians had trailed 23-10 early in the second quarter before closing the frame with an 8-2 run. NT senior forward Jacqueline Vinson finished with seven points (all after halftime) and four rebounds. Senior guard Maggie Murdock contributed five points and six boards, and junior forward/center Taite Ryan had four points and four rebounds. “We battled and played hard,” Trevians coach Teri Rodgers said. “I liked our resiliency.” … NT improved to 15-5 with its 47-30 defeat of Wheaton North at the Subway Shootout at Willowbrook on Jan. 13.