May 3, 2023

After Exceeding Expectations for Maryland Women’s Hoops, Former PU Star Meyers Looking to Make Impact in WNBA

PUMPED UP: Abby Meyers screams for joy during a game this past winter for the University of Maryland women’s basketball team. Meyers, a former Princeton standout who was the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2022 in her senior season for the Tigers, helped Maryland advance to the NCAA Elite 8. In early April, Meyers was selected by the Dallas Wings in the first round of the 2023 WNBA Draft as the 11th overall pick. The Wings started training camp last Sunday. (Photo provided courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

By Justin Feil

When Abby Meyers heard her name called as the 11th pick of the 2023 WNBA Draft on April 10, it brought joyous screams from the family, close friends, high school coach, and his wife that had gathered at the basketball star’s family home in Potomac, Md.

They hadn’t anticipated her selection so early as Meyers was the final first-round pick of the Dallas Wings.

“We didn’t know what to say,” said Meyers. “It was like a star-struck moment. I was grateful for that number to be picked and for me to hear my name. My expectations were far exceeded. That’s kind of the story of this year. I have certain expectations. I set the bar low and always exceed them. I’m very happy with how it all went.”

After graduating from Princeton University in 2022 where she was named the Ivy League Player of the Year in her final season for the Tiger women’s hoops team, Meyers, a 6’0 guard, played this past year for University of Maryland as a graduate student and averaged 14.3 points per game while shooting almost 39 percent from 3-point range to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors. In her final season at Princeton, she had averaged 17.9 points per game to amass the program’s highest single season scoring total of 538 points.

“I was there for four years, and I was only at Maryland for one,” said Meyers, who totaled 936 points in her Tiger career. “When they said, ‘11th pick in the WNBA draft, Abby Meyers from Maryland,’ it’s also Abby Meyers from Princeton. They were very supportive and they know they were the ones to really get me here.”

Meyers becomes the second player from Princeton to be selected by the Wings. Bella Alarie, who recently retired from the WNBA, was also a first-round selection by Dallas in 2020.

“I’ve been in touch with Bella a lot just the last couple of years with how she’s doing,” said Meyers. “She told me a lot about the organization. I had questions about the pros and the WNBA and overseas. She actually came over when she heard my name called because we both live in the same area, and she drove over and brought some Dallas gear with her and we celebrated a little bit.”

Meyers now has her sights set on making the roster for the Wings. She was one of 18 players competing for 12 spots when training camp opened last Sunday. Meyers fits the bill of what Dallas is looking for in their players.

“We prioritized shooting in this draft and she is obviously a premier shooter,” said Greg Bibb, the president, CEO and partner of the Wings. “But I think she has demonstrated the ability to be an all-around impact player. I was really impressed with how she handled the transition to the Big Ten and coming from Princeton I know she understands how to play on the defensive side of the ball. In addition, her pre-draft interview was probably one of the top five I have done in my time running a WNBA Draft process. She is a really impressive young woman and I’m excited for her to comet into camp and compete for a roster spot.”

For Meyers, the move to the WNBA is the second time in two years that she will try to impress a new coaching staff. Meyers had to come from being an established commodity with Princeton to being one of nine transfers at Maryland.

“The biggest transition from Princeton to Maryland was finding ways to communicate with an entirely new group of girls and coaching staff,” said Meyers. “The communication aspect, we had a communications coach, and we made sure we were preparing ourselves for big-game situations when the moment was heated and there’s all this adrenaline, how can you best get your point across in an efficient and effective manner? That was the biggest challenge because I didn’t have that issue more or less at Princeton. Here at Maryland with so many new people everyone wanted their voice to be heard and to have a say and sometimes that would drown out certain voices, so we had to find a way to get things done verbally.”

Things worked out well for Meyers and the Terrapins. They went 28-7 overall, 15-3 in the Big Ten, and won their first and second round NCAA tournament games before upending Notre Dame in the NCAA Sweet 16. They fell to No. 1 South Carolina in the regional final despite 14 points, five rebounds and two assists from Meyers.

“I think it was an all-around success — individually and team-wise,” said Meyers, who had 21 points in an earlier meeting with South Carolina as well as a season-high 24 points against Penn State. “We got a lot of great wins, we were able to go far in the tournament, really make a name for ourselves this year when a lot of people underestimated us with nine new transfers. It was a fun year of basketball because we found a way to make things work and to win. It was a lot of fun and for me personally, I figured out to how to mesh with the team and fit within the offense. I was able to contribute in a big way and just happy that I had a good year for Maryland.”

Meyers found time toward the end of the season to return to Princeton. She was on hand at Jadwin Gym for the Tigers’ win over Penn in the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament after Maryland finished play in the Big Ten Tournament earlier that week.

“We had two days off which was amazing,” said Meyers. “I was able to go up to Princeton and see some friends and spend some time there. It was really good. It was a good moment. I was there for the first game of the two. It was great seeing them and supporting them and being a part of that community again and being embraced like I always have been. It’s just a special family and I wanted to take that time to go visit and say hi to everyone.”

It was the only chance that Meyers had during the basketball season to return to Princeton. The rest of the year she kept in touch with former teammates and followed them from afar, and vice versa.

“We’re all very supportive of each other,” said Meyers.

“If there were any big games like against Columbia or Harvard, I wish them good luck beforehand. I remembered to reach out regularly before big games and they were very supportive of me. All my teammates from Princeton and the coaching staff congratulated me on getting drafted. They posted it on their stories.”

Now they’re pulling for her to make a WNBA roster. It’s no easy task, but Meyers feels like the graduate year helped. She competed at a Power 5 school against a difficult schedule.

“In terms of the actual play, I feel like it was a pretty seamless transition,” said Meyers, who earned a masters in management studies at Maryland. “I was able to adapt to bigger, stronger, faster players. I’m one of those so that wasn’t the biggest challenge. It was communicating with a new team.”

The challenges helped her to continue to develop her game. She worked each day in practice and in games to improve, and some areas stand out as she evaluates herself.

“My one on one game — my ability to break down my player — really improved,” said Meyers.

“And I think my defense as well. We have a saying, ‘guard your yard.’ I think my ability to guard my yard has dramatically improved just through the reps in practice and playing against great players. We had a practice squad of guys and we were with them every day. Those two aspects — my one-on-one offense and one-on-one defense improved.”

Those improvements raised her status with the WNBA. She had some contact with teams before the draft but wasn’t sure when she might be drafted exactly.

“The week prior, I had a bunch of interviews with teams,” said Meyers. “I think that’s just protocol. Teams interview you and want to get to know you, get a vibe from you and see how you’re like as a player and pick your brain a little bit. They give you game situations. They ask you some personal questions to get to know you fast, kind of like a speed date. I talked with
Dallas and L.A. and a bunch of other teams. So I knew I was on Dallas’s radar and I knew I had crushed the interview, but I just didn’t expect to be called that early by them. It was quite an exciting moment. Other than that I was pretty much in the dark draft night. No call ahead of time, no updates, it was just very sudden.”

Her selection only put in motion the next steps for her. She immediately began gearing up for the three-week camp that she called “grueling.” Meyers headed to Dallas for a pre-camp physical and to try to start building relationships with the team. Dallas will test its draft picks in every facet as they try to determine their best 12 players.

“I’m going to make sure I bring my best game and be the best teammate I can be and show them what I’m all about,” said Meyers. “If that works for them, it works for them. And if not, it’s OK, I’m going to keep working and move on. It’s going to be tough. Making a WNBA team is such a tough thing, especially with only 12 teams in the league. I think there’s a real shot to make the team. Any place, I’m going to make sure I put in my game, talk to the coaches, get to know them, watch film with them and get there early. I’m going to work my butt off to really make them think if they want Abby Meyers or not.”

Meyers feels good about what she can bring to a professional team. It comes down to the same assets that made her an All-Ivy and All-Big Ten player in college.

“I have to play as best I can,” said Meyers. “Knockdown shooter, confident driver, good teammate, good playmaker. I just have to do everything that I already do, make shots, and just do it better for those three weeks. That’s what I really have to do.”

If Meyers can do all those things, she could set herself up to exceed expectations once again.