HURRICANE, W.Va. - The only meltdowns for Hurricane's Abby Watson this season are the ones she is causing for opposing defenses.
The 5-foot-8 guard has a new mindset that has her soaring even higher as she is leading the ultra-competitive Class AAA Mountain State Athletic Conference in scoring and has the Redskins on track for a winning season.
Watson was the primary offensive threat last season and opponents were geared to shutting her down, which led to some frustrating moments for the sophomore, who averaged 18.9 points.
"Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah,'' acknowledged Watson, who is now a junior. "Last year it was me running with my head cut off.
"We've got some offenses that really get me open [this year]. I've matured as a player, too. I would force a turnover or force a shot and I realize that I can't do that. I shouldn't do that.''
Watson is making better decisions and it has showed as she is averaging 24.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 4.4 steals and 3.1 blocks heading into this weekend's games. She has already surpassed 1,000 career points this season, standing at 1,207, and on five occasions has netted 30 or more points with a season high of 35.
"Last year when teams threw junk defenses at us [Watson] didn't handle it as well,'' said Hurricane assistant coach Austin Lowe, who shares the coaching duties with his wife and head coach Natasha Lowe. "She lost her emotions some games.
"Last year she had a couple of meltdowns during a game. Lost her composure totally. She's been more of a captain this year. She knows what's coming. This year she hasn't melted down one time. She's taking over games. She just put us on her back. She's grown up a lot as a player. She's probably the most physical player in the MSAC. She gets double-teamed and special attention a lot. She earns what she gets.''
Watson no longer feels the need to carry the entire load, having confidence that her teammates can bail her out of a tight situation.
Redskins senior post Taneisha Strudavent (11.2 points), sophomore guard Kaylee Wooten (7.9) and junior Audrey Barber (8.0), who is back after missing the first 14 games with an ankle injury, have become viable scoring threats.
"When teams are double-teaming me I can trust that Kaylee will hit some shots, that Taneisha will grab some rebounds and Audrey can handle the ball," Watson said. "I still have teams play me in the box-and-one and the triangle-and-2 but they're forced to get out of it as the game goes on. They have to pick us up man. It really has opened it up for us.''