Anna Bowers can throw a football as well as many high school quarterbacks, can run sprints as fast as the wind, shoot a soccer ball with precision and also has dabbled in lacrosse, golf and softball.
As a senior guard for the Lipscomb Lady Bison she has surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career. She is only the fourth Lipscomb player to reach that plateau in the NCAA Division era joining, Courtney Boynton, Kate Beth Pate Allen and Jenna Bartsokas.
Anna has scored 1,045 points heading into Saturday night’s 6:30 p.m. game with Belmont at Allen Arena. She is 33 points away from Allen who sits in third place.
But the truly rare part of the accomplishment is that she joins her father, Ricky, in the 1,000-point club at Lipscomb. Ricky scored 1,151 points from 1980-84 during the NAIA era of the athletic department. There are no available stats in this area, but it would have to be a rare accomplishment.
Neither Anna, nor her father, realized she was close to reaching 1,000 points. Her teammates informed Anna of her accomplishment after the Jan. 19 game at USC Upstate. Anna did not know her father had scored 1,000 points during his career.
“I didn’t think about reaching 1,000 points at all,” Anna said. “It’s nice, but there is no way I could score that much without the four other players on the court with me.
“I think it is really a small portion of the game. It would have been a lot better if we had won that game.”
Lipscomb coach Frank Bennett agrees that shooting is just one part of Anna’s overall abilities on the court.
“Anna is very self-motivated,” Bennett said. “She plays very hard. She puts more into her defense than she does her offense.
“She plays an all-around game. She just likes the competition and being a team player. But she is a very good scorer. She has a great shooting stroke. She has been more selective in the 3-point shots she takes.”
Anna’s family has never stressed celebrating individual achievement. Ricky thinks that Anna has always been too busy playing a variety of sports to keep up with her stats. At Lipscomb she also competes for the track team in the spring.
“I didn’t know she had 1,000 points until I went to the website,” Ricky said.
Ricky, the athletic director and football coach at Ensworth High School, has been aware of Anna’s athletic prowess since she was a baby.
“We have videos of her when she was very, very young with a basketball in her hands,” Ricky said. “She has always enjoyed running, having a ball in her hands and playing.
“Since she was really young she has been able to handle a basketball really well. It was amazing to watch her. I can remember her throwing and catching when she was 2.”
Anna grew up playing basketball in the backyard with her younger brothers, Andrew and Richard. Her sister, Mary Rae, rounds out the family.
In high school at Ensworth she would often be in the gym before school shooting and also stayed after practices. Even during soccer season she would find time to work on her shooting.
“It is hard to really teach someone how to shoot a basketball,” Anna said. “You really have to work on it if you are changing from one thing to another. Just growing up in an atmosphere that was surrounded by basketball helped me to develop a decent shot from the early stages.”
Ricky did not take every opportunity to give his daughter advice.
“When I asked him he would give me advice,” Anna said. “When I was little I just wanted to play. I didn’t care what my shot looked like then. Thankfully, it was good enough.
“In high school I would ask him more. I struggled with my 3-point shooting throughout high school. He worked with me. He always had something helpful and good to say. I would attribute a lot of what my shot looks like now to him.”
She is known for her competitive attitude, something that she picked up from her father and her mother, Deborah.
“He taught me not to give up,” Anna said. “He gave me a good concept of how to play smart. There were just little things that you picked up from watching him coach.”
Ricky did not expect Anna to play basketball on the Division I level.
“I wasn’t sure she would choose basketball,” Ricky said. “In track she has uncommon speed. I always thought she was more naturally gifted in track. If there would have been a way to play four seasons of basketball, four seasons of track and four seasons of golf she would have done it. I was always hoping she would play golf.”
Despite her success on the court, Anna can’t truthfully say that basketball is her favorite sport.
“It was the first sport I started to play because that is what Dad coached first,” Anna said. “Whatever I am playing is my favorite sport. The variety of playing different sports is what I think I love the most.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.