Meghan Graff Breaks Program Points Record; Reflects on Career


Meghan Graff last year after the team won NESCACs. Credit: Katherine Merisotis ’23

With an eye-popping 44-point performance against Tufts on Jan. 21, senior Meghan Graff became the program’s all-time leading scorer, breaking Emily King’s 23-year-standing record of 1,478 points in the process. However, despite this plaque-deserving achievement to go along with numerous other accolades, Graff would prefer to shift the focus to the teammates, coaches and program who have helped shape her as a player.

“I feel like other people think it’s cooler than I do,” she said. “But it’s still pretty exciting. And I think it’s just like a nice time to have a perspective of appreciating being a part of such a great program.”

According to Head Coach Alison Montgomery, Graff’s combination of talent, basketball IQ, work ethic and competitiveness is a recipe for transcendence.

“She’s obviously had a really impressive career from the moment she got here,” Montgomery emphasized. “Really leading us in a lot of ways, but certainly with scoring so you know, I think obviously it takes that to break records. You have to be pretty good from the start, and you have to do it consistently and correctly, and all that shows the impact that she had immediately on the team. I’m so thrilled for her.”

It sounds cliche, but it is not too far off the truth to say that Graff was born with the drive to succeed. Competition and winning have always been a part of Graff’s modus operandi.

“I love winning,” she said. “It’s a really gratifying feeling for me to win. And I think that’s definitely played a huge role in my success. And, I’m definitely competitive. I don’t think I’m annoyingly competitive. But you can probably ask my teammates, and they would say something else.”

 Both of Graph’s parents played college basketball: her mother at Boston University and her father at Bowdoin College. Likewise, growing up with two older brothers flushed out an “edge” in her game. From there, her basketball trajectory took off: Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), high school and then Bates.

Graff, who was “barely recruited” coming out of South Portland High School, said that Bates was the perfect fit for her temperament.

“I was interested in being a contributor to creating this competitive winning program; that sounded so appealing to me,” she said.

Montgomery, who has been the head coach since 2015, envisioned Graff as a key member of the program all the way back in 2018.

“I like to have a good solid Maine-[raised] player every year if I can,” Montgomery stated. “And so I was excited to recruit her for that reason. I also identified her as someone with a really high basketball IQ, she really understands the game. She was obviously a really good high school player, but I felt like there was a good amount of untapped potential there and just felt like she could really sort of blossom in the college game.”

Graff’s opening foray into NESCAC basketball was successful on an individual level as she led the Bobcats in both points and assists per game. However, the team struggled to get results and finished with just two wins in conference play. 

The following season, 2019-20, saw Graff accumulate a bevy of accolades: Bates Female Athlete of the Year, all-NESCAC 2nd Team and NESCAC points champion. The team also steadily made progress as they qualified for the conference playoffs but bowed out to Amherst in the first round.

And then, COVID-19 struck. The world stopped, and Graff’s ascent into NESCAC superstardom was temporarily halted. She would have to wait until 2021 to make her return to the court; she took the cursed 2020-21 school year off. Even with time off and no structured basketball, Graff committed to getting herself to that next level, according to Montgomery.

“For a lot of athletes, that can be challenging because you’re not around your team,” she said. “So that year can be kind of lost in terms of getting better and being competitive. But I think she really used that year to work on her game to work on her fitness. So I think that’s a really good example of her work ethic that she was able to get better when there were no stakes for games, and nobody really watching.”

Last year, Graff’s return to Bates resulted in another massive leap, both individually and in terms of team performance. She was named to’s All-American Second Team and won NESCAC Player of the Year. On a team level, the Bobcats were extraordinary, winning their first NESCAC title in program history and qualifying for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006.

In case you need a reminder, Bates played Roger Williams University in the opening game, where Mia Roy ‘22 hit an astonishing (and likely SportsCenter-worthy) three-pointer to send the contest to overtime. Spoiler: the Bobcats won, and it remains one of Graff’s favorite memories.

“When Mia hit the three at the buzzer to send it to OT, it was literally the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I was like right under the basket. Like she shot it, and it went in and I was like no freaking way,” she said.

While the Bobcats haven’t quite capitalized on the momentum of last season’s success (“It’s a transitional year,” according to Graff), she would love to leave the program as a two-time NESCAC champion. Likewise, she hopes that her competitive spirit is passed down to future Bobcats.

“I’m kind of just like a dog with being able to get shit done.” she said with a laugh.Montgomery singled out Graff’s work ethic and leadership ability as her primary attributes.

“She earned that sort of respect from her teammates, who voted her to be a captain prior to her junior year,” the coach said. “In moments of adversity, in moments when we really needed someone to step up, she was always there, whether she was on the court or not.”

Likewise, Montgomery praised Graff’s ability to consistently raise her performance levels, especially in the pressure cooker of NESCAC play.

“Our basketball league is a really, really, really competitive one,” Montgomery said. “Every team is good. And there [are] a lot of good players in our league. So despite every team knowing who she is, knowing what her tendencies are, knowing what she wants to do every single year, she’s found a way to make a pretty incredible impact and to get better every year. So I think each year, part of the thing that’s pushed her is fighting against that pressure of like, ‘Can I do it again?’ ‘Can I do it again and better?’ And I think she’s risen to that occasion.”

Graff credited her teammates, coaches and friends for supporting her and helping her grow over the past four years.

“There [are] so many intangible things I could go on and on about that I’ve learned,” Graff said. “I think especially being a leader throughout this program, there’s a lot of responsibility [involved]. We like to preach a lot throughout our team about just having a positive culture, a positive atmosphere. And that’s something that I’ve definitely really appreciated the last four years.”

Graff also singled out Montgomery, in particular, for helping her develop as a leader within the program.

“She pushed us to be vocal,” she said. “And I think that’s super intimidating to do, especially since you’re this young freshman, and she has these huge expectations and shoes for you to fill. And, it’s definitely scary, intimidating and stuff, but having that responsibility definitely plays a huge role in why I’ve been able to be a leader and be vocal, and like, all that stuff, because it’s kind of been there since the start.” 

Meghan Graff’s blend of talent, competitiveness, work ethic, and leadership capabilities were paramount in her becoming the Bobcats’ all-time leading scorer. But, at the end of the day, Graff knows there’s so much more to being a basketball player than having her name on a plaque.

“I think that’s why it’s been kind of unique to talk about this,” she said. “I mean, with the game on Saturday, of course, I became the Bates all-time leading scorer, but we also didn’t win. And that’s cool, but any day of the week, I’d trade any sort of individual accomplishment for winning a game.”