During her 2021-22 season with the Bearcats, senior guard Denai Bowman led her team in scoring, earning herself a spot in both the America East (AE) first-team all-conference and the AE all-defensive team for the second year straight. Bowman returns for her fourth season at BU and hopes to continue her success on the court.

“Just playing with my new teammates [is what I’m most excited for],” Bowman said. “It’s not a brand new team, but we have a lot of new pieces and just seeing how well we do together and how well we mesh.”

Last season, Bowman averaged 14.6 points and 1.9 steals per game, good for second in the conference in both categories. She started and played in all 29 of the Bearcats’ contests and had six games in which she scored 20 or more points. In every season at BU since her freshman year, Bowman has increased her average points per game.

“This season, our goals are really to just show up each and every game and play our hardest, along with just trying to get consistent wins and just bring home the championship,” Bowman said. “I feel like each year, its always been a new team, so we’ve had to adjust how we play and accommodate to what we have.”

While Bowman commanded the BU offense last year, she also recorded 54 steals and averaged 5.2 rebounds, earning herself a spot on the all-defensive team for the second consecutive year. After a freshman year where she averaged 6.6 points per game, Bowman has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with. The guard now holds the reigns to the Bearcat offense, in her fourth and potentially final season at BU.

“My personal goals are to get everyone else around me involved, making sure it isn’t a one-man show,” Bowman said. “Just doing my part as a leader and as a teammate and just as a player in general.”

Despite a tough 2021-22 campaign, with BU finishing 9-20 (5-13 AE), the team bounced back near the end of the season. After conceding their first four games of AE play, the Bearcats finished the season on a higher note down the stretch, winning four of their final five games, all by double-digit margins.

“I think we performed well at certain times,” Bowman said. “Sometimes there was a struggle with all of us getting on the same page, but the games when we were on the same page, we looked really good together.”

Bowman is still currently debating on what her post-graduation plans will be. Due to COVID-19, the senior was granted an extra year of college eligibility, but she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of her playing overseas. Regardless of this season’s outcome, she’s excited about what the future holds for her.

“I’m still deciding on taking my fifth year, or playing overseas in some country,” Bowman said.

Bowman has now spent over three years with the Binghamton program, establishing herself as a focal point for the team. She described how her experience at BU has helped her grow as a player and a person, both on and off the court.

“I think I’ve grown as a leader,” Bowman said. “Communicating in different types of ways. I was always known as a shy and kind of introverted type [of] person, but stepping out and being a leader on the basketball court allowed me to do things in the classroom or things that are in my regular social life that I didn’t do before … Just getting out of my comfort zone and gaining confidence in all different types of areas.”

Bowman now holds the most significant leadership role that she’s had in her four years at Binghamton, and she isn’t afraid to accept the challenge.

“It feels great [being in such a big leadership role],” Bowman said. “Sometimes it is a lot of pressure, but nothing that I can’t handle, and nothing that I don’t want. It’s definitely a challenge at times, but it puts me at a better position to help my teammates and to really see the growth within all of us.”