The resurgence of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association continues to show as the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Queens
will draw its biggest turnout in nearly a decade starting Saturday in Las Vegas.
More than 250 of the top female competitors in the world will descend on The Orleans Bowling Center to see if they can make their way through the double-elimination match-play bracket and to the stepladder finals, which will be televised live Thursday, May 26 at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network.
“We made the decision to once again hold the Queens in the same city as the USBC Women’s Championships, allowing women to bowl both events in one trip, and we expected a larger field because of it,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said.
“This year’s tournament certainly has surpassed our expectations. It is an exciting time for women’s bowling, and it’s been fun to watch as we continue to build a better future for the sport.”
USBC Hall of Famer and reigning PWBA Player of the Year Liz Johnson (pictured) of Cheektowaga, New York, will look to defend her title against the largest Queens field since 2008.
The 2016 USBC Women’s Championships, which kicked off April 9, is taking place at Las Vegas’ South Point Bowling Plaza until July 11.
Johnson, a two-time tiara winner, defeated Erin McCarthy of Omaha, Nebraska, in last year’s title match at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wisconsin, 256-202.
“There’s nothing more prestigious than winning the Queens title,” said Johnson, who won her first Queens at the 2009 event in Reno, Nevada.
“Winning the first one was one of my proudest moments, and I couldn’t believe I was able to win a second one last year. Now, to go out and defend against all these great players will be quite a task, but I’m excited to be in position to try.”
Johnson used the momentum of her victory at the 2015 Queens, the season-opening event of the relaunched PWBA Tour, to capture two additional titles, including the U.S. Women’s Open, on her way to earning her first PWBA Player of the Year award.
The 2016 season has started in similar fashion, with Johnson advancing to match play in each of the first three events and earning a spot in the stepladder finals of the PWBA Las Vegas Open.
“It’s been a good start to the season, and I was fortunate to make one show so far,” said Johnson, a 14-time PWBA Tour titlist.
“I’ve had some issues with making spares and filling frames at times, but I feel good overall. The format at the Queens is like no other, and that’s why it’s so challenging to win. It sometimes can just be about being on the right pair at the right time, and, I know it’s cliché, but you really have to just take it one frame, one game and one block at a time.”
As the defending champion at the Queens, Johnson is guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the bracket, but bowling qualifying will give her a chance to improve her seeding as well as get a feel for the bowling center and oil pattern.
All competitors at the 2016 Queens will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days starting Saturday at 11 a.m. Eastern to determine the 63 bowlers who will join Johnson in match play.
The match-play bracket will feature three-game matches with total pinfall determining who advances. The five players who make their way through the bracket will advance to the stepladder finals and have the chance to take home the top prize of $20,000.
All rounds of competition leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the Professional Bowlers Association. For more information on the USBC Queens, click here.
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