An exceptional athlete who came to The University of Akron in 1997 out of Park Hill High School in Kansas City, MO, Cheryl Bowles would become the Zips’ women’s basketball program’s first-ever first-team All-Mid-American Conference honoree, the all-time leading scorer and was a three-year captain during her four-year career.
The 6-4 first team All-Missouri center didn’t waste any time by setting the stage for an outstanding career by leading the UA women in scoring, 12.7 ppg, and rebounding, 7.2 rpg, that earned her a spot on the MAC All-Freshman team and she also received Honorable Mention honors, as well! Bowles would go on to pace UA in scoring and rebounding all four years. As a sophomore in 1998-99 she led UA to a 16-13 record, the best season since entering the NCAA I Division in 1983 and a first ever post-season berth in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, by upping her averages to 16.6 ppg and 9.0 rpg. Her performance was highlighted by career highs in points, 33 in a 73-66 win over Cleveland State and 20 rebounds in the 79-70 victory over St. Louis. As a result, Bowles was selected second team All-MAC and was named to the MAC All-Tournament squad.
Her last two seasons, Bowles cemented herself as one of the premiere players in Akron history by becoming the school’s then all-time leading scorer. In 1999-00, she set a school record with 497 points in a season, finished fourth in the conference in scoring (17.8 ppg), fourth in field-goal percentage (.553) and eighth in rebounding (8.4 rpg). It gave Bowles first team All-MAC honors and she also was a Kodak Honorable Mention All-American. Although her senior year did not go as well, she earned Honorable Mention All-MAC accolades and ended her 115-game career with 1,712 points, surpassing the old mark of 1,544. She was also a perfect 10 for 10 from the field versus Central Michigan that remains today as the record to beat.
Her No. 24 was honored in 2011 and now hangs from the rafters of Rhodes Arena on the UA campus and she was inducted into the UA Hall of Fame in 2012. Currently, Cheryl is Central Regional Director at EXOS/MediFit and resides in Kansas City, MO.