With Meyers Thriving in Role of Go-To Scorer, PU Women’s Hoops Routs Maine 82-43, Now 5-1
SHOOTING STAR: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, senior guard Meyers scored a game-high 21 points to help Princeton defeat Maine 82-43. The Tigers, now 5-1, play at No. 22 Florida Gulf Coast on December 1 and at Fordham on December 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Abby Meyers knows that she has to be a go-to offensive player for the Princeton University women’s basketball team this winter.
After playing a supporting role to such stars as Bella Alarie and Carlie Littlefield in the past, it is time for Meyers to carry more of the scoring load.
“As a senior, I have gotten a lot of trust from my coaches and teammates, which I really value and appreciate,” said Meyers, who averaged 9.4 points a game in the 2017-18 and 6.3 points in 2019-20.
“I almost have the green light and that is something that not many people are lucky enough to have. I am working really hard on my game. My teammates are looking for me. In the end, we need the scorers to score. I really want to try and internalize that role, being a good scorer for our team. We need it.”
Last Sunday against visiting Maine, Meyers displayed her offensive game, tallying a game-high 21 points as the Tigers pulled away to an 82-43 win in improving to 5-1.
“Getting 100 shots a day is really key to keeping your shot good,” said Meyers, a 6’0 native of Potomac, Md., who is now averaging a team-best 17.7 points a game this season.
“It is just having fun with and not overthinking it. I think a lot of our players in the beginning started to overthink stuff because there is a year off. They pictured a lot of things, like I am going to do this, this, and this. It is just going in with no expectations and having a short term memory and playing the best that you can.”
Despite the year off as the Ivy League canceled competition due to COVID-19 concerns, the stingy Tiger defense hasn’t missed a beat, yielding just 47.2 points per contest. Against Maine, the Tigers gave up only four points in the first quarter.
“It is trusting the process, obviously we lost a lot of good, tall players inside so there was some uncertainty as to how our defense was going to be this year,” said Meyers.
“With six, seven games, I think that our defense has really proven itself. We are undersized but we have carried over the principle of our Princeton defense.”
The Tigers have also proven to be fast starters, outscoring foes by a combined 49 points (100-51) in first quarters this year.
“A lot of the time, we just try and bring the energy in the first quarter and that kind of shocks the other team and they miss shots,” said Meyers.
“We got into a groove, it is not ever a goal to keep them under 10 in a quarter. In the end, the goal is to keep them under 40 points but we gave up three extra. It is a good start.”
Princeton head coach Carla Berube likes the way her team has been coming out of the gate.
“You want to start off the game on a great note and set the tone of how it is going to be for the next 30 minutes,” said Berube.
“It took us a little bit of time to get going. I think we relied on our defense; it got us some better opportunities on the break. It was just making plays for each other.”
The Tiger defense has been a constant. “Our goal is to keep them under 40 which did not happen,” said Berube.
“It was a great defensive effort. We did a really great job of taking away what they really wanted to do; their motion offense, the running and cutting that they were doing, they usually get a lot of backdoor options. I thought we were pretty dialed in defensively. I think our offense took a little time to warm up but once we did, I think we got some good opportunities.”
Berube credited Meyers with cashing in on her opportunities.
“Abby Meyers is a good option for us,” said Berube. “She can post up, she has great length at the guard position. She can certainly take you outside and hit threes. She is great at transition as well, she scores really well at the rim. She makes plays for her teammates as well. She is just an all-around great offensive player.”
Freshman Paige Martin and sophomore Kaitlyn Chen provided some offense off the bench for the Tigers against Maine with Morton tallying eight points in 11 minutes and Chen chipping in seven points.
“Paige showed us that in the preseason as well so it is now finally coming together in games when the bright lights on,” said Berube.
“She has got a great frame and a good offensive arsenal too. We are excited that she is stepping up and giving us some really important minutes. Kaitlyn is such an exciting player, she has a great ability to go by opponents and make plays for her teammates. She can also finish inside.”
With Princeton playing at No. 22 Florida Gulf Coast on December 1 and at Fordham on December 5, the Tigers face some exciting tests ahead.
“It has been really difficult so far, we are heading down to Florida Gulf Coast, they are a top 25 team,” said Berube.
“It is going to be a real challenge. I think we are prepared as much as we can, we will give our best effort down there. Then we are at Fordham, we have a tough road ahead.”
Meyers, for her part, believes that a special team chemistry will help the Tigers get through those challenges.
“The team this year is really close, we got to know each other a lot in the offseason with the extra year to just meet over Zoom and try to meet in person if possible,” said Meyers.
“The team this year has really just run with it. There is a new, fun attitude that we are bringing to our practices and sometimes our coaches are just like focus, keep the jokes for later off the court. The team is really meshing well. We are all equals on and off the court and that is what we try to emphasize.”