Iowa's Sister Act Brings Points ... And Eye-Rolls

Makenzie Meyer (3) heads into her senior season at Iowa as not only one of the on-court leaders, but a teacher for her younger sister. (USA Today Sports)
John Bohnenkamp

Megan Meyer knows it’s coming.

She’s a freshman on Iowa’s women’s basketball team and, like all freshmen, there are going to be mistakes.

It is a player’s life.

Meyer will hear from the coaches, hear from her teammates.

Then she knows what she’s going to get from her sister.

The eye-roll.

“She’ll come over and roll her eyes, or be like, ‘Megan!’” Megan said, laughing. “I’m at the point where it’s like, OK, it’s coming.”

Makenzie Meyer is a senior who made all of those mistakes early in her career. Her job now, as a starter with all of that game experience, is to help make the younger players better.

Especially her younger sister.

“I don’t know if she sees it all of the time,” Makenzie said with the same laugh. “But any time she makes a little mistake, I’m on the sideline rolling my eyes. I’m trying to get better about it, but, yeah.”

It’s a different dynamic within the Hawkeyes this season — two sisters, four years apart, who won a state championship together at Mason City High School, now on the same college team.

“I think it’s awesome,” senior guard Kathleen Doyle said. “They’re four years apart, but it’s fun having them together on the team.”

“It's going to be interesting having a sister duo on the team,” coach Lisa Bluder said. “Again, it's kind of unusual, and Megan is a lot like Makenzie as far as her 3-point shot capabilities, and I just maybe have to keep them away from each other sometimes, but it'll be fun to have both of them there.”

Bluder is right that the two Meyers are prolific scorers. Makenzie scored 1,589 points in her high school career, then Megan scored 1,882 to become Mason City’s all-time leading scorer. Makenzie is closing in on the 1,000-point mark at Iowa — she has 826 in her first three seasons.

They are both big 3-point shooters — Makenzie has 155 in her career at Iowa, Megan holds Mason City’s single-season record with 71.

Bluder has enjoyed watching the interactions.

“I'm sure they've had some unbelievable battles of horse in their backyard before, and you think of (Iowa wrestling coaches) Tom and Terry Brands and how they go after each other,” Bluder said. “I mean, these two have been competitive, and I think it's a good competition, though. I think it brings out the best in both of them.

“It's kind of fun to see Makenzie hold Megan accountable, kind of that big sister, but also senior to freshman, like, ‘This is the way we do things.’ It's a little fun once in a while to see her roll her eyes and be exasperated with her, but it's kind of a unique situation, and it's going to be fun, I think.”

“Whenever we’re in practice, and I mess up a play, she’s the first person to snap at me, tell me what I did wrong,” Megan said. “I mean, I appreciate it. She’s definitely looking out for me.”

Makenzie likes being in that spot. She has logged 2,750 minutes in her college career, with 82 starts. She started 33 games last season on a team that won the Big Ten Tournament and reached the regional finals of the NCAA tournament.

“I think I’ve just matured a lot,” Makenzie said. “I think I’ve grown in my leadership skills a lot. My confidence has improved even more. I think I’m doing a better job of helping out the younger players, the more inexperienced players.”

Megan admitted that there have been the usual difficulties in this transition from high school to college. But what has helped is that Iowa is where she wanted to play.

Asked what it was like to see her uniform for the first time, Megan said, “It was awesome. It’s a moment you can’t really describe. Ever since I was a little kid, especially growing up and being a Hawkeye fan, I’ve always wanted to play for the University of Iowa. And then when you see the uniform in your locker, it’s like, ‘Wow, this actually happened.’”

And it helps that, throughout her sister’s time with the team, Megan got to know her future teammates.

“Coming to games last year, and then waiting to talk to Makenzie after, I got to talk to the rest of the team, too,” she said. “It was nice to have relationships before I even came here.”

There will, of course, continue to be the freshman bumps. And Megan knows who will be among the first to point them out.

“Definitely there are times of ‘sister arguments,’” she said, smiling. “But it’s awesome.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Makenzie said. “We’ve grown a lot in our relationship, matured a lot. It’s so nice to have someone I can talk to about anything. I think it’s helped with my leadership skills. I see Megan making the same mistakes I was as a freshman. It’s really easy for me to get on her. But then I have to realize I was in that position too.

“I just hope I can help her out.”

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