Dialing In Her Dominance Down Under

It didn’t take long for former CWU basketball standout Samantha Bowman to adjust to playing at the next level.

But the Great Northwest Conference’s all-time leading rebounder didn’t just “play” in Australia’s North Basketball League last spring and summer; she dominated.

Coming off a senior season in which she was named the Division II National Player of the Year, Bowman put up averages of 20.1 points and 15.5 rebounds for the Rockhampton Cyclones while logging 36.5 minutes per game.

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“I went down to Australia as soon as our season ended and immediately started playing games,” said Bowman, a 6-foot-2 center who won a record nine GNAC Player of the Week awards during her Central career. “It was a bit of an adjustment at first with the climate, but it didn’t take long for me to get into a groove.”

Bowman played a full 40 minutes in her debut, scoring 38 points and pulling down 20 rebounds. She proceeded to score in double figures in all but two games, recorded six games of 20-plus rebounds, and also averaged 1.7 steals per game.

“It was a pretty easy adjustment for me because I was coming straight off the college season,” she said. “I was already in pretty good shape, and that helped a lot.”

Bowman has picked up where she left off this season, putting up double-doubles in her first three games in late April. If she keeps up those levels of production, she may one day earn a promotion to the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL).

“My goal is to play in the WNBL,” she said. “I definitely think I could play at that level, but I would be severely undersized in the post. That’s why I’ve been working on my ball-handling and creating my own shot. I’d also like to improve my percentage from the 3.”

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Bowman spent the offseason between Ellensburg and her hometown of Zillah, working on her game and helping her former Wildcat teammates improve as a training assistant for head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley—a mentor she credits for her development as a player.

“I’m someone who always needs to be challenged, and Randi never took it easy on me,” said Bowman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and completed her master’s this spring. “I was always asking her what I needed to work on, and she really helped me reach my potential.”

Bowman has been able to use the lessons she learned from Richardson-Thornley and Zillah High School coach Brandie Valadez to inspire the next generation of players. Returning the favor to the people who have believed in her over the years means everything to Bowman.

She’s not going to let something like playing halfway around the world stop her from being a role model for young girls back home.

“Being able to give back is something I truly value,” Bowman said. “It’s easy to get caught up in everything going on in your own life and forget where you came from. But I will always go back to my roots. I want people to see that, no matter where you’re from, you can achieve anything you want to.”

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