Abby Meyers, 24, is the 6-foot senior co-captain of the University of Maryland Terrapins. The Potomac resident led Maryland to a 28-7 season and a two-seed in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, where the Terps reached the Elite Eight before falling to undefeated South Carolina, 86-75, on Monday.
This interview took place last week.
How did you discover basketball?
I was into sports at a young age with my sisters. We all played rec league together. In middle school, I joined this Rising Stars league on a team called the Bulldogs. And that’s when I developed this natural love for the game.
I just found myself wanting to watch Kyrie Irving crossover videos on YouTube, and practice those crossovers by myself. All I needed was a basketball and a hoop. And I had a knack for it. I took it for granted. “This is fun. I love hooping. Let me play as much as I can.” I wasn’t thinking about taking it to the next level.
The one who made me realize that was my high school coach [Peter Kenah at Walt Whitman High School]. He wanted me to play with older girls. I remember playing with older girls in summer league in middle school. I was smaller; I was weaker; I remember fumbling the ball all the time.
Between 2017 and 2022, you went from skipping the Maccabiah Games to not only playing in them, but to taking in the whole experience. Why did it mean so much more to you to play in the games in 2022?
In 2017, when I had the opportunity to try it, I knew very little about the Maccabiah Games. But for 2022, my assistant coach at Princeton [Lauren Battista] said she participated in the Maccabiah Games, and she loved it. But also, it was the oldest, best team. And I knew a lot of those girls. In 2017, I didn’t really feel the competitiveness. But I felt that in 2022. And I had a free summer. And I was more developed. In 2017, I wanted to work on my game at home.
You have this Jewish fan base on Maryland’s campus. How did it start? And what is it like at games?
There’s a large group of Jews on campus that love coming to women’s basketball games. They reached out to me on Instagram and wanted me to come to Shabbat at Chabad. It’s so welcoming. More than anything they’re just so supportive. They wish me luck before games. I hear them. I see their signs.
Like 5-10 come to the home games. But that 5-10 are loud, energetic and they are holding up “slay” signs. Like “slay,” do your thing.
What was your Jewish upbringing like?
My experience is largely cultural. We would use the holidays as a great excuse to come together to celebrate our Jewish heritage. I loved it. But we never really celebrated religiously. We would go to Washington Hebrew [Congregation] on the big holidays. But I never really went to Hebrew school.
You’ve achieved this status as a great Jewish basketball player. But you’re also at a crossroads in your life. What’s next for you?
I have a great support system, many of which have played professionally, and all say that I should play professionally, or I’ll regret it. So I’m going to explore that and see what happens. I think there’s interest in the WNBA for me.
What I would love is to continue to celebrate my Judaism the way I’ve celebrated it my whole life. And that is to always come together with family, to have my own family one day and to open their eyes to how amazing it is to be Jewish. I think my parents did that right with me and my sisters. ■