Bowen an example of overcoming adversity

ASHLAND – In everyday life, adversity can strike anyone at anytime. When it comes to sports, adversity can strike on the next play. The question in everyday life is the same as in sports–how do you respond to it? How do you react? Do you give up, or do you get up and keep fighting? One Benton County athlete has the answer. Ashland High School all-star guard Sandricka Bowen was struck with adversity in a September 2008 practice. Going up for a layup, she was knocked off balance and when she came down she heard her knee pop—the last sound an athlete wants to hear. The instant prognosis, a torn knee, but after a trip to the doctor her fears were confirmed. Bowen had not only torn her ACL, but her meniscus as well. An injury like that might cause the average athlete to never want to play the game again, especially a senior like Bowen, with hopes of continuing a basketball career in college. However, Bowen is not your average athlete. The fire in her belly for the game of basketball was too large to let an injury, any injury, stand in the way of her dream to play college basketball. Bowen traded major surgery that would have ended her senior season for minor surgery that would allow her to return to the court for the remainder of the season. Bowen traveled to Oxford in October, where a doctor performed a scope of the knee to give her enough stability to play with a brace. After almost two months of rehab, she returned to the floor. She never gave up, she never accepted defeat, and below is the story of her fulfilling her dream to play college basketball. Bowen had surgery earlier this spring to repair the knee and is expected to make a complete recovery. The story originally ran in the Southern Advocate May 21: ASHLAND—Lady Blue Devil standout Sandricka Bowen recently signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia. Bowen averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals per game for Coach Jessie Terry, after missing the first half of her senior season with a knee injury. The injury slowed Bowen down, but it didn’t stop her from having a great year or continuing her basketball career in college. “I always wanted to go to a university,” said Bowen, “but I knew after my injury, I would have to start at a junior college, and I’m very happy to be a Lady Ranger.” Bowen suffered a torn ACL in a September 2008 practice and after minor surgery in October with almost two months of rehab, she returned in time to lead the Lady Blue Devils to the MHSAA North Half Tournament. “When I came back it was kind of difficult to get used to wearing a knee brace,” said Bowen. “I just tried to keep playing hard, running hard, so I could get used to the brace. I would say I was about 80 percent (healthy) when I came back.” It’s hard to believe that the lightning-quick guard was anything less than 100 percent during the first round of the MHSAA tournament. Bowen nearly single-handedly beat the Pine Grove Lady Panthers, scoring 35 of the Lady Devils’ 53 points. She scored 26 in the second half. Said Lady Panther Coach Cliff Ormon: “We were trying to do all we could to stop her (Bowen) and we couldn’t. She was shooting from NBA range in the second half, and we were just happy there was only one of her.” Coach Terry has seen Bowen blossom into a superstar guard for the past four years and said Northwest’s decision to sign Bowen–despite the injury–came as a result of watching her play as a underclassman. He said they found out about her mainly by word of mouth. “A player like Sandricka, you don’t just look at one game,” said Terry. “You can tell by seeing her play the game, her knowledge of the game, and how much she puts in the game, she’s an outstanding player. “Back during her junior and sophomore years, if they didn’t see her play, they (Northwest) heard about the ‘kid from Ashland.’ They heard about her, and they knew what she could do. That’s what inspired Northwest to sign her, despite her knee surgery. That really made me feel proud for her.” Although Terry is very proud to see Bowen move on to bigger and better things, he hates the thought of not seeing her on the floor next season. “She’s just a great person, and her presence on the floor meant a whole lot to us. We’ll certainly miss her playing, but more than that, when she walked in the room, the whole room lit up. The players looked up to her, and all the teachers knew if they needed something done they could go to Sandricka.” Bowen is the daughter of James and Sandra Bowen. She has three sisters, Markeitia, Marcena, and Cashauna, and one special mentor–her uncle–Kevin Washington, who she said was a big help during her knee rehab. Bowen hopes to one day be an athletic trainer.

Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel