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Abby Meyers returns home to play for Maryland team she idolized

New Maryland guard Abby Meyers was the Ivy League player of the year at Princeton last season. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
5 min

Olivia Meyers sat inside a Calgary coffee shop in March, recording herself trying to contain her emotions while watching her twin sister have one of the biggest moments of her life.

Olivia, better known as Livy, silently pumped her fist with the camera rolling as Abby Meyers scored a career-high 29 points to lead No. 11 seed Princeton to the second NCAA tournament win in program history, a victory over the future No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, Rhyne Howard, and No. 6 Kentucky.

Livy knew the moment would be special, even if she had to watch from afar while attending graduate school in another country.

“It was kind of weird, but I wanted her to see my reaction,” Livy said. “I was supposed to be doing my work, but the work was put away very quickly. And then I was watching intently the game in the coffee shop, probably making a little too much noise at some point. People probably thought I was crazy, like fist-pumping in this coffee shop. And crying. But it was a good moment.”

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Livy has watched Abby have these moments all of their lives, and there was another in April that blew her mind again. Coming off being named Ivy League player of the year, Abby transferred to the University of Maryland — the school they grew up idolizing. The Potomac natives went to Walt Whitman High in Bethesda, where Abby is the all-time leading scorer, and used to attend Maryland games to watch current WNBA stars Alyssa Thomas and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. Now Abby has been voted a captain as a senior and is expected to shoulder a significant role for a program that was overhauled during the offseason.

We looked up to those girls like they were basketball gods,” Livy said. “So the fact that Abby’s going there now startled me because we idolized the team.

“Really just shocked. Abby always surprises me. I never thought she could go to such a dominant basketball school, and now she’s playing for them and is going to be one of their top players, I think. It’s just real shock. She always does the unthinkable for our family. So it’s always a good surprise.”

Abby added, “It was kind of just like a no-brainer for me.”

The Terrapins lost five of last season’s top six scorers through graduation or the transfer portal. Coach Brenda Frese worked the portal herself and brought in Meyers, Brinae Alexander (Vanderbilt), Elisa Pinzan (South Florida) and Allie Kubek (Towson). (Lavender Briggs also transferred from Florida in January, and Kubek has been lost for this season with a torn ACL.) All-Big Ten guard Diamond Miller, sixth player of the year Shyanne Sellers, Faith Masonius and Emma Chardon are the only returners, and Frese signed three four-star recruits who were ranked in the nation’s top 60 by ESPN.

The new group has plenty of proven scorers, but none have played an actual game together outside of practice. So there’s an atmosphere of unknown surrounding the 2022-23 Terrapins. Meyers is coming off a season in which she scored 17.9 points and grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game. She shot 45 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from behind the arc. The success on the court extended beyond the Ivy League as she dropped that career-high 29 on Kentucky, 21 against No. 12 Texas and 18 against No. 22 Florida Gulf Coast last season.

“She’s a phenomenal guard,” Kentucky Coach Kyra Elzy said after the tournament game. “Her ability to score on all three levels, and if you give her any space, it’s going up, and she’s very efficient offensively”

Frese added: “Can’t say enough for her experience, just a special player. She’s given us so much as an ultimate leader as well as a scorer that can score in a variety of ways. We’re excited for Abby.”

Meyers spent the offseason improving her ballhandling with the anticipation of having the rock in her hands more often. She was used as a playmaker off the wing at Princeton, but the Terps will probably play faster without much size on the roster. Frese said there will be a lot of positionless basketball, and that could lead to multiple players pushing the ball upcourt instead of waiting to find the point guard.

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It’s difficult to surmise what expectations should be for a Maryland team with so many question marks. Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, the Terps have won six regular season championships and five tournament titles. But how will all the newcomers fit in, and how will the returners adapt to new skill sets and tendencies? In the preseason rankings, both the media and the coaches voted Maryland to finish fourth.

Things may feel even stranger for those expected to be in the program for just one season.

“I think that you have like a devil and angel on your shoulders,” Meyers said. “And the angel’s saying: ‘Hey, day-by-day, be present. Take your time and just get better.’ And the devil’s saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got to make every moment count.’ Trying to find the balance between the two for me is going to be a good challenge that I’m ready for.”