College Notebook: Bowen fitting in as a freshman at Seattle Pacific

Skyview graduate a big contributor off bench for Falcons

By Kurt Zimmer, Columbian Sports Reporter

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Making the jump to college athletics means starting over.

Even for someone who was First Team All-State and Most Valuable Player of the Class 4A state tournament while leading her team to a state championship.

For Brooke Bowen, the transition is going well.

"I didn't really know what to expect," the Skyview High School graduate said of entering her freshman basketball season at Seattle Pacific University.

"I knew it was going to be back to like being a freshman in high school and being the underdog, but at the same time, I knew it was going to be totally different from that because college basketball is such a different pace and it's much more of a commitment and much more hard work. I was really nervous going into it and had no idea what to expect, but it actually ended up being fine.

"I really am enjoying playing college basketball. I thought it would be even harder, but I've been able to kind of keep up with it, I think. I'm happy, because I was really nervous that I wasn't going to be able to keep up."

As a college freshman, Bowen said time management and doing what it takes to stay on top of her classes is the biggest challenge she faces with all the commitment that goes with playing basketball.

Bowen, a 5-foot-10 shooting guard, has played in every game this season for the 6-1 Falcons, averaging 5.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 17.4 minutes a game off the bench — the most on the team among non-starters to enter more than two games. Grateful to have earned time on the court from SPU coach Julie Heisey, Bowen is no diva because of her high school accolades.

"I'm really happy with the playing time that she's giving me," Bowen said. "I'm really thankful for the playing time that I'm getting, because usually for college freshmen, it's really hard to get playing time. I'm enjoying playing."

She has scored in double digits twice, with a college career-best and team-high 16 points in a 78-57 win Friday over Sonoma State at the CCAA-GNAC Challenge, a crossover event in Chico, Calif., matching NCAA Division II teams from the California Collegiate Athletic Association and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

It was a breakout for Bowen, who had been struggling with her shooting. That led to struggles with her confidence, but the game became an epiphany. She started the game 2 of 11 shooting, but made her last five attempts.

"I was really happy with that game," Bowen said. "I felt back to playing my game, and I was actually starting to hit shots. In the second half, I kept shooting and I started making my shots, which is what I need to remember to do: continue to shoot the ball. That's something I do. If I'm missing shots, I start to think like, 'OK, maybe I shouldn't take as many shots' because I want to pass the ball to someone who's making more shots. I think I need to remember that I can still shoot the ball and pass to other people and continue to play my game."

Bowen's game is a hybrid of perimeter and interior play, her 5-10 height being tall for a guard but not as tall as college post players. She said Heisey told her during the recruiting process that her versatility makes her a good fit in the uptempo SPU program. While she is not posting up as much as she did in high school, that is part of what she does for the Falcons.

"I like to drive and shoot the ball, and I really like passing into the post," she said of her game. "We have really good posts here at Seattle Pacific who I can rely on, and it's fun to pass them the ball."

For Bowen, who said she takes pride in rebounding and is encouraged by Heisey to develop that mentality, personal and team goals mesh. She wants to be "a big contributor" to the team's goal of winning the GNAC championship. The Falcons are off to a good start in that department, already 2-0 in conference play.

"I need to continue to play my game and play the way I'm supposed to," Bowen said.

Career night in win for Linfield's Henson

Linfield College sophomore guard Katelyn Henson posted career highs of 22 points and 16 rebounds as the Wildcats posted their first victory of the season Saturday, a 57-53 win over Northwest Christian University.

It was the Camas High School graduate's first collegiate double-double.

Henson leads Linfield (1-5) with 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game. Her 9.3 points a game are second on the team.

NWC honors Duvall

Whitworth University junior Kate Duvall was named Northwest Conference Swimming Student-Athlete of the Week for Nov. 26 through Dec. 2.

The Hudson's Bay High School graduate posted an NCAA Division III provisional qualifying mark of 2 minutes, 6.30 seconds in the 200 backstroke at the Husky Invitational in Seattle. That time and her 5:11.49 in the 500 freestyle are the best times in the conference this season, and her time of 59.58 in the 100 back was a personal season best.

Suggestions for College Notebook? Contact Kurt Zimmer at 360-735-4563 or kurt.zimmer@columbian.com.