GNAC announces MVP Pre-season All-Conference


Jacob Thompson

Sam Bowman. Photo by Jacob Thompson

Devin Guerra-Burnett, Staff Reporter

Women’s basketball center Sam Bowman was awarded the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Preseason All-Conference MVP this past week.

 Bowman said she grew up in Zillah and has been playing basketball since her youth.

The now senior expresses how being recognized made her feel. 

“It definitely made me excited, it motivates me a lot to have a good year like we did last year,” Bowman said. “Honestly I can’t read too much into it, it doesn’t mean anything, I just have to back it up now.”

Being named preseason MVP, Bowman said she plans to work hard to live up to that title given to her.

When it comes to her recognition with her family and friends, Bowman said she has a support system behind her cheering her on in her accomplishments and future.

“I called my parents and my brother, they’re all super excited for me,” Bowman said. “I’m really happy I got it for the recognition of the team.”

According to Bowman, a focus for her is working on continuing to be the best player she can be and dominating as a center.

“My overall play and being efficient, that’s my main goal,” Bowman said. “I’ve always wanted to be known as the hardest working player on the court so just keeping that mentality of ‘I will work harder than everyone else,’ focusing on honing in on my post moves, preparing myself for different defenses that might come this year and just being confident.”

Bowman said she feels this wouldn’t be achievable without her teammates. 

“Working together, we have a really good group this year,” Bowman said. “It’s a brand new group, we have a lot of potential, so building each other’s confidence is going to be huge. I’m going to do what I can to help build their confidence.”

Bowman said she has been working relentlessly on new skills to showcase this season.

Sam Bowman. Photo by Jacob Thompson (Jacob Thompson)

“I switched it up this year, there’s a few moves that are the focus right now but there has been one I’ve worked on this summer that I’m excited to see how it will go,” Bowman said.

The last scrimmage helped all the new faces on the team gel, Bowman took a few things from it. 

“It gave me a lot of hope and a lot of confidence,” Bowman said. “I thought it went really well, I’m really happy with how the team played overall together, we share the love of [the game] really well and shared the ball and a lot of components that seemed to come together in that game which gave us a lot of confidence.” 

Women’s basketball head coach, Randi Richardson-Thornley, said she had two players selected for Preseason All-Conference awards. 

“It’s not something we talk much about,” Richardson-Thornley said. “None of those acculates or opinions matter much for what we have going in front of us.” 

“We don’t want to put a lot of weight on those things,” Richardson-Thornley said. “With that being said I do think that Sam and Sunny [Valerie Huerta] are both very well deserving of both of those things with the work they have put in and performances they had so far in their career.” 

Richardson-Thornley explained how the awarded players for GNAC Preseason All-Conference are chosen.

“The conference has a vote,” Richardson-Thornley said. “All the other coaches in the league vote for players for other teams, they cannot vote for their own players, only opponents of other teams,” 

Richardson-Thornley said the girls main focus is for their season is defense.

“We’ve always been a program that has been known for our offensive ability,” Richardson-Thornley said. “I think where we really have to grow to take the next step is to improve our ability to defend and I think we have the athletes and mentality to be able to do that.” 

“[The goal is to get the team to] feel extremely comfortable on the floor,” Richardson-Thornley said. “We want them to give their full effort and become a team where we get stops defensively and we are a unit out there and play as one, and offensively that we play with a ton of confidence.”