Megan Abdo’s value has never been higher.
Now you might glance at the Pacific Lutheran University starting point guard’s scoring average (10.4 points per game), assist-to-turnover ratio (38 to 54) and field goal percentage (35.9 percent) and not be compelled to dub her a Northwest Conference women’s basketball all-star. That is understandable.
But for what second-year coach Jennifer Childress is trying to do with the Lutes — rebuild — Abdo is a most valuable player.
“Megan has always shown a step-ahead maturity,” Childress said. “She started several games as a freshman for Kelly (Robinson, former coach). Last year, she started for me. ... And here she is as a junior, and she has to be the veteran.
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“A lot of weight is on her shoulders, and the team rides her emotion and her engagement.”
It is safe to say the Lutes’ most realistic goal this season is avoiding the NWC cellar, not contending for a conference championship.
Childress, a longtime assistant coach at Western Washington University, was hired prior to last season to replace Robinson. The Lutes went 7-18.
Abdo and shooting guard Sarah Barnes were the only regulars to return off last season’s squad. That meant Childress had to find replacements. The roster — with no seniors — has nine new players.
What it does is set up the Lutes for a two-year run with this nucleus, led by Abdo, an Arlington High School product.
“I knew we probably would not be super successful this season,” Abdo said. “So I’ve approached it positively because we have a lot of new players.”
From her last two years in high school to last season with Childress’ arrival, Abdo had played for four coaches in as many years.
“(Childress) definitely expects a lot out of me,” Abdo said. “I have the most experience on the team. And the fact I’ve been in the program for three years — she trusts me. And I trust her.”
In terms of development of team chemistry, Abdo points to the Lutes’ season-opening trip to California in November as a big step.
“We were down there for four days. We went to Universal Studios together. And we won our first game against Pomona,” Abdo said. “There was a moment there where we all saw the potential we had spending all of that time together.”
Abdo said the team’s 4-10 record has been difficult. There have been rough patches off the court, too.
She knows this is a rebuilding effort for the future — hopefully sooner rather than later.
“I used to not be one to vent, but in the last couple of years, I’ve needed that release,” Abdo said. “I will talk to my parents about it. And I’ve had a boyfriend for seven months, so I talk to him — and I know he hates it. And my roommate was on the team for one year, so she is the one who makes me open up.
“And then there is Coach. Why I love her is that she shows the passion. A couple of times during the season, she’s teared up with frustration. Just to see that ... inspires me to go play.”