Beavers' Meggers just keeps on rolling
Buena Vista University women's basketball coach Janet Berry remembered sitting down with one of her top players, Amy Meggers, before the latter's junior season.
"Whenever we've had outstanding women's teams at BV, we've always had that one go-to-player we could count on at crunch time," Berry said. "I told Amy I wanted her to step up her game and be that player for us her junior year."
Berry said the Beavers had won just eight games during Meggers' sophomore year, but were close in most of the losses.
She needed Meggers to step up and turn those losses into wins.
"She was up to the challenge," Berry said. "Her statistics were pretty amazing."
And good enough for Meggers to be named the Iowa Conference's Most Valuable Player after her junior season. She led the conference in scoring with an average of 22.8 points per game and was second in rebounding with an average of nine per contest.
Meggers led the BV women to a second-place finish in the conference, as the team finished 19-8 overall and 13-5 in the Iowa Conference.
Thus far this season, Meggers has been even better. Through three games, she's averaging about 25 points per game.
"She's just such a tough matchup for anybody who guards her," Berry said. "She's a great all-around athlete but does so many things on the floor for us.
"She can post up, drive to the basket or hit the outside shot."
The coach added that Meggers plays much bigger than her 5-foot-10 frame would suggest.
"She's just so quick off the floor and quick to the ball," Berry said. "She's got great rebounding instincts and once the ball is in her hands, nobody's going to get it away from her."
That has led to a certain intimidation factor, Berry said.
"Nobody wants to guard Amy Meggers," she said. "She's gotten kind of a reputation that somehow, she isn't very nice on the floor. That's just due to her intensity, and that's kind of a running joke to the girls on our team who really know Amy. She's' really a very nice, gentle person.
"And she's the only one on the team who takes a stuffed teddy bear on road trips with her," she added with a chuckle.
Added Meggers: "We just want to play hard because we all have high expectations for this team."
That was also true when Meggers starred for IKM High in Manilla. She led IKM to second place at the Iowa State Tournament her junior season and again to the state tourney her senior year.
"She pretty much carried the team on her back to state when she was a senior," said Berry. "We didn't think we'd have a great shot at getting her."
Meggers, however, got passed over by Division II schools, Berry said, because she was "sort of an in-between player - to small for the post position, which she had played throughout her high school years."
"BV just showed a lot of interest in me and I was impressed with the coach and and staff," Meggers said. And I liked the school a lot after I took a tour of it."
But Berry said Meggers' freshman year wasn't as easy as her next two years were.
"Amy had a lot on her plate as a freshman," she said. "She was away from her twin sister for the first time, and she was learning to get used to playing the pace of the college game."
"It didn't play very well my freshman year," Meggers admitted. As for her fraternal twin sister, she says, "she's married, has two kids and is living in Arizona now. I missed her, but I got over it and made the adjustment."
On the court, Meggers said her confidence started growing her sophomore season and it's been on an upward climb ever since.
"I got into the flow better as a sophomore and even more as a junior," she said.
She averaged 12.5 points per game as a sophomore and made the second All-Iowa Conference team. No one was prepared, however, for the numbers Meggers put up her junior year.
"When you consider she averaged over 22 points per game and the top Iowa Conference scorer on the men's side averaged around 16 points per game, that's pretty amazing," Berry said.
Meggers also broke the 1,000 point mark during her junior season.
"That happens to seniors, but very rarely to junior players," Berry said.
Meggers and Berry added that the Beavers' success last season and so far in 2003 isn't just due to Meggers alone. They say she also has a stronger supporting cast around her now.
"(Center) Kristina (Kapler) has gotten stronger and improved a lot," Meggers said. "And when we added (sophomore point guard) Katie (Maguire), that helped a lot."
Maguire has given the Beavers a strong outside threat, including from beyond the arc. In the Nebraska Wesleyan game at Siebens Field House last week, for instance, Maguire hit three three-point shots in the first four minutes of the first half. Meggers finished with 29 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
"Katie has helped to take the scoring pressure off Amy," added Berry. "And that's what I told Amy before the season - that she didn't have to go out and duplicate her stats from last year because we are now a better team overall.
"I didn't want her feeling too much pressure, so I told her just put up 18 to 20 points per game and we'd be fine. So far, she's been scoring more than last year.
"But I think she's really developed a lot on and off the court. She's confident now in herself and her teammates and most of all, she's just having a lot of fun out there her senior season."
Meggers, meanwhile, and the Beavers have high goals for the rest of the season.
"We want to win an Iowa Conference title and make it to the national tournament," she said.