Friday, December 3, 2021

Abby Meyers Takes Control


Whenever TigerBlog thinks of a Princeton player who took over the last two minutes of a game and basically willed the Tigers to a win, he goes back to the 2004 NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinals.

Back then, it was Princeton against Maryland, in a game played in the football stadium at the University of Virginia on a very hot day. Princeton was down 8-6 with less than two minutes to go when Ryan Boyle put his team on his shoulders, scoring two goals while matched up one-on-one against the nation's best defenseman that year and then assisting on the game-winner in overtime to send the Tigers to the Final Four.

As TB watched the women's basketball game Wednesday night at No. 22 Florida-Gulf Coast on ESPN+, he couldn't help but think back to that performance by Boyle (now a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and as good a lacrosse broadcaster as there has ever been). 

Why? It was because of what Abby Meyers did in the final 70 seconds.

Princeton was down 53-52 with a little more than a minute to play when Meyers took the ball just above the three-point line, squared up and then beat her opponent to the baseline, eventually finishing with a reverse layup and the and-one, putting Princeton up 55-53.

That move was explosive. 

FGCU came back and tied it on its next possession, so it was a 55-55 game with a 10-second difference between the shot clock and game clock. If Princeton couldn't convert, FGCU would have the last chance to win it in regulation.

So what happened?

Meyers did it again. This time, she dribbled way above the three-point line, made a move to the basket, reversed herself and then spun back to her left, shooting a soft floater from about eight feet that arched softly into the basket, putting Princeton up 57-55 with 17.3 seconds to go. The final was Princeton 58, Florida-Gulf Coast 55.

The game was a great early-season game to watch. It was two outstanding teams with contrasting approaches, Princeton with gaudy defensive numbers and FGCU scoring 84 per game coming in.

Princeton swarmed defensively, as it always does. Every shot was contested. Florida-Gulf Coast was held nearly four three-pointers below its season average. Rebounds were pretty much even.

It was clear throughout that this one was going to go to the wire. When it did, there was Meyers, with a great clutch performance.

In fact, it was the best kind of clutch performance. Meyers scored just two first-half points, shooting 1 for 5 in the opening 20 minutes. In the second half, she scored 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting, finishing with 18 points, right out of her average. Throw in that she did this on the road against a ranked team and that she scored the decisive points on tough shots when she was most needed, and you have a really impressive performance.

Next up for the women's basketball team is a trip to Fordham Sunday at 1. The Rams have also played a really brutal schedule and have some really good showings, including a win over Michigan State, a team receiving votes in the polls.

As for the rest of this weekend in Princeton sports, the only teams who are at home are the men's basketball team (tomorrow at 4 against Drexel) and the men's and women's swimming and diving teams (the Big Al Invitational runs all weekend). 

Among the other events are the men's hockey team trip to RPI and Union and the men's and women's fencing team at the Sacred Heart Duals (TB will of course always defer to mentioning Sacred Heart University, his son's alma mater, when given the opportunity).

As always, the entire schedule for the weekend can be found HERE.

And once again, to order the book on the first 50 years of women's athletics at Princeton, click on the link above.

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