Ball State junior forward Tamara Bowie knows what it's like to play in the spotlight. In fact, the reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year relishes the pressure that is placed upon her. However, other teams must not solely rely on stopping her in order to be successful.
"Before, it was, stop Bowie, and you could stop our team," the 6'0" Bowie said. "That's not going to work anymore. You have to stop my team before you can stop me now.
"We have so many weapons. It's not just me, it's our whole team. You have to stop all of us."
Bowie finished the MAC regular season last year ranked first in scoring at 18.6 points per game, first in field goal percentage at .591 and third in rebounds with 8.4 per contest. Her 40-point outburst against Eastern Michigan on Jan. 27 was the most ever scored by a BSU player in school history.
But amidst all the personal achievements, Bowie said the focus this year is on the team and advancing deep into the postseason.
"We're going to be really good this year," she said. "I'm just focused on how many wins our team gets. I am very excited and think this will be one of our better years. My goal this year is more team oriented than a personal goal. We're anxious to go out and prove ourselves."
Nonetheless, BSU head coach Tracy Roller believes that shutting down Tamara will still be a task among itself.
"Tamara is going to be difficult to stop," Roller said. "Sometimes she stops herself. But when that happens, we're not going to lose games because others on this team will step up. In a way, we're going to really rely on her. The expectations are there for her, but she's not perfect. She'll always be consistent for us, but when she gets shut down there will be others to back her up."
Because other teams have had the opportunity to study Tamara's game and identify her strengths and weaknesses, Roller said the other veterans and leaders on the team will play major roles.
"She's not a secret anymore," Roller said. "Everybody knows what her capabilities and weaknesses are. It's nice that we've got some leadership that we haven't had in the past because, before this season, we have been so young.
"I haven't had to coach effort at all. They know they've got to work hard."
In her two preseason games, Bowie averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds, guiding the Cardinals to a 1-1 record. They open their regular season Friday against Wright State.