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For the first time, there will be all women’s teams competing in the PBA League in 2020 and the draft is just around the corner.
The Miami Waves and Phoenix Fury will join the PBA League and take on the best players from the PBA Tour for the Elias Cup later this year. Each team will pick up five players in the PBA League Miami and Phoenix Draft on July 7 at 4 p.m. Eastern live on FloBowling.
With the top 35 players in points on the PWBA Tour available to be drafted, who are the five best players available? Here are FloBowling Senior Editor Lucas Wiseman’s top picks:
1. Shannon O’Keefe
O’Keefe is hands down the dominating force on the PWBA Tour. Last season, she won five out of the 14 PWBA events and earned PWBA Player of the Year honors. With a physical game that’s second-to-none and among the fittest players on the PWBA Tour, O’Keefe has won a major in each of the past three seasons and has won 13 overall titles. She’s also the head coach of the highly successful McKendree women’s collegiate team and knows what it takes to win in a team environment.
2. Danielle McEwan
Every year since the PWBA Tour relaunched in 2015, McEwan has found a way to win an event. In 2019, she won the U.S. Women’s Open and was second to O’Keefe on the PWBA Tour points list. McEwan doesn’t just bowl on the PWBA Tour, she will bowl anywhere against anyone and has had tremendous success doing so around the world. She is no stranger on the PBA Tour and advanced to match play at the 2020 PBA Scorpion Championship, which will be contested later this year.
3. Liz Johnson
One of the best female players to ever put on a pair of bowling shoes, Johnson has won 24 professional titles, including an astonishing 10 majors. She began her professional career in 1996 and lost many of her best years when the PWBA shut down during her prime. If not for that shut down, it’s impossible to know how many titles she would have won but it would have been fun to watch. At 46, Johnson is still among the best players in the game and she was fourth on the PWBA Tour points list in 2019.
4. Jordan Richard
On the other end of the spectrum from Johnson is Richard, who is one of the PWBA’s bright new stars. After finishing out her collegiate career at Arkansas State, Richard joined the PWBA in 2018 and immediately made an impact, earning PWBA Rookie of the Year honors. She’s won a title in each of the past two seasons and has one of the highest rev rates on the PWBA Tour, which should be an advantage when competing against her male counterparts.
5. Shannon Pluhowsky
It’s no surprise everyone wants a lefty to compete in the PBA League at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, and Pluhowsky is the best lefty available. That automatically makes her one of the top picks in the draft. Admittedly, Pluhowsky has underperformed at the professional level since the PWBA Tour started back up in 2015. Her one professional win came in 2006 at the USBC Queens. That said, Pluhowsky has a tremendous amount of team bowling experience at the highest possible level. For two decades, she’s been a standout player for Team USA and would be a great fit for either team in the draft.