Murray’s AuClaire off to impressive start in senior seasonJan 05, 2024 11:32AM ● By Josh McFadden
Murray girls basketball player Mia AuClaire has picked up where she left off last season. The senior is one of the top scorers in Class 4A. (Photo courtesy of Jeremiah AuClaire)
When Mia AuClaire first stepped onto the court for the Murray High School girls basketball team, she was still in middle school. Now, three years later, the senior is breaking records for the Spartans.
AuClaire, a 5-foot-8-inch guard is a four-year starter for Murray, having held the position since her freshman year. AuClaire began this season as the leading returning scorer for Murray, having finished second on the team last with behind now-departed senior Iyana Beh. AuClaire has improved on last season’s 12.5-point average to pouring in 18.6 in her first eight games of this season. She had a season-high 29 points, including four three-pointers, against Farmington on Dec. 12. In the first eight games, she reached 20 points six times. In two of those games, she nailed five three-pointers (against Kearns and Provo in back-to-back contests Nov. 30 and Dec. 1). AuClaire is making nearly three shots from behind the three-point line every game. She also 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists an outing.
“I’m working to improve my consistency, which has been going amazing so far this season,” she said.
Her play shouldn’t be surprising. She has been productive since her first year with Murray.
AuClaire paced Murray in scoring as a freshman in 2020-21 with 13.4 points per game, a season in which she connected on 54 three-pointers. She also was the leading scorer as a freshman, a rare feat, by tallying 10.7 points a game. She also averaged 1.6 steals per game that season. As of our press time, AuClaire had scored nearly 1,000 points and made 151 three-pointers as a Spartan.
AuClaire developed a love for basketball at a young age and that joy has only increased.
“The first time I ever touched a basketball in third grade, I knew I had a passion for it, and I knew it would become such a huge impact in my life,” she said. “What got me interested was watching my dad teach my brother how to play, and from there, I took off.”
In her years of playing, she said she loves the teamwork aspect of the game most. She also loves the feeling of playing against other players and striving to do her best.
“I enjoy the competition and most of all, the family that is built,” she said.
Murray got off to a 4-4 start this season. They will compete in Region 10 of Class 4A against some new foes, having previously been a member of Class 5A’s Region 6. Murray was 9-13 a year ago and 5-7 in Region 6, good enough for fifth place. During her sophomore year, the Spartans finished 6-16 overall. They were 13-10 in 2020-21.
Though the team has had some ups and downs, AuClaire has loved being a part of the Murray team. Her appreciation for the team goes beyond wins and losses.
“Murray is such an amazing program and has really let me showcase my talent, which I am so grateful for,” she said. “The people are so kind, and the coaching staff is one of a kind.”
As a player, AuClaire has been a prolific scorer. She is a tremendous shooter and also possesses excellent dribbling skills. Being able to handle the ball well has enabled her to maneuver past opponents and quickly advance the ball. She not only has the playing abilities a coach wants, but she has some critical intangibles too, such as being a leader and example.
“I feel like I play a big leadership role for my team,” she said. “I am always trying to be positive.”
There are still plenty of games left in the season for the Spartans to work toward posting a winning record for the first time in three years. Murray finished December with a road game at 5A opponent Woods Cross on Dec. 19 and an away contest with 6A foe Davis after Christmas on Dec. 28.
Once 2024 begins, the Spartans will start the Region 10 schedule, beginning with a clash with Cottonwood on the road Jan. 5. The Region 10 home opener is five days later against Stansbury.
AuClaire wants to have a good mindset every game and put forth everything she has. She also wants to capture the region title, something Murray girls basketball hasn’t done since the 2008-09 season. In Murray’s way of winning a region championship are Cottonwood, Tooele, Jordan, Park City, Hillcrest and Stansbury. Only Park City was with Murray in Region 6 a year ago.
“The biggest goals I have for myself this season is to bring effort, energy and positivity every time I step on the court,” she said. “The biggest goal I have for my team is to win region, which I am feeling so good about.”
Achieving these aspirations won’t come without hard work. AuClaire’s success will depend on how well the girls work together and come together as a unit in practice and games.
“For us to be successful, we need to communicate more and push each other to our limits in the game and at practice. Working hard for each other will get us far.”
By the time AuClaire’s stint is over at Murray, she might end up being the leading scorer in Murray’s history. She has drawn interest from major colleges and will soon decide where she intends to continue the next stage of her career. She also has some career goals planned, and they will keep her close to athletics.
“I am planning on playing college ball after high school and will announce where after the season,” she said. “I want to major in sports psychology to help athletes overcome mental blocks.” λ