The Pilots Women’s Basketball team cemented their spot on the national stage as they won the West Coast Conference (WCC) tournament and in doing so earned a spot in the NCAA tournament. While this achievement is a team effort, there is one player that has stood out throughout the season, junior, Alex Fowler.
From breaking the all-time scoring record on the women’s side at UP with 1,954 points, leading the Pilots to the most conference wins in team program history and helping build a bond within the team, she is also the fifth player in the WCC to score over 2,000 points. Fowler currently sits at 2,114 points and is likely to score more in the NCAA tournament.
Before becoming an all-star player for the Pilots, as a young girl growing up in Townsville, Australia, Fowler constantly played basketball against older, more experienced players.
“I have to give credit to Australian Basketball for developing Australian kids coming out of their Junior club years …” Fowler said. “A lot of Australians get put in situations where we’re playing against older women and more experienced players … that’s set us up to play college basketball.”
There are an increasing number of Australian basketball players now playing in college and Fowler hopes that aspiring Australian basketball players will look to her as an example.
Fowler’s basketball career didn’t kick off in Portland. Before coming to UP, she played for the JCU Townsville Fire and St. Margaret Mary’s College, also winning several awards. She’s also had time playing professional basketball in Australia earning her call-ups to the Australian Women’s Basketball National Team. Fowler attributes these experiences to her success today.
Fowler averages 17.6 points per game this season and totals a career-high of 3.3 assists per game. During her four years with the Pilots, Fowler improved her field goal percentage from .546% to .582% and her three-point percentage from .259% to .302%.
Being a veteran fourth-year player for the Pilots and having the season of her career, Fowler racked up points due to her multi-dimensional finishing ability and her unselfish attitude.
“She’s a really hard matchup for other teams because if you try to guard her with post players she can go away from the rim and shoot threes …” Head Coach Michael Meek said. “I think her strength is how versatile she is.”
Fowler recognizes this part of her game and says that she believes she learned a lot from playing basketball at a high level at such a young age.
Haylee Andrews, a longtime teammate and friend of Fowler, has been there through her entire journey. Growing up in Townsville, Australia, together meant that they played basketball on the same Junior Club Team — The Blackstars — as well as other teams later on before getting recruited to Portland.
Andrews played a big role in Fowler’s recruitment at UP, acting as a mentor, guide and host. Before committing, Fowler spent the weekend with Andrews as she navigated the recruiting process and toured Portland.
“It’s amazing to see all of the hard work she’s put in on the basketball court start to pay off with all these accomplishments and achievements …” Andrews said. “I’m super proud of her and I’m glad we got to share this experience together.”
Being a good teammate is key to Fowler’s game and it bleeds into her life off the court as well.
“She’s a very humble and selfless person…” Andrews said. “She makes sure everyone’s having a good time and enjoying whatever we’re doing, whether it’s basketball or other team activities.”
Fowler occasionally hosts team get togethers, so that they can bond, have fun and recover from the game days and training like bringing out their creative side by painting. Fowler puts the fun and joy of others at the front of her values whether she is painting with her teammates or playing basketball.
Fowler is grateful to her coaches and teammates that have helped push her to improve and become the player she is today.
“I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I do without having all these people around me, supporting me, and backing me when I need to get some extra shots up,” Fowler said. “These accomplishments weren’t just a thing that I did, I think it’s something that a group of people did to help me reach these achievements.”
Constantly motivating her team, Fowler leads by example and encourages her teammates to create a fun, safe and competitive environment on the court.
“You can have just as much fun being unselfish and playing around your teammates.” Fowler said, “I think it really just changes the whole vibe and culture of your team when you have a lot of players that genuinely care about each one's success. Whether you’re having an on-night or someone else is, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a team win in the end.”
Aidan Hyde is a sports reporter for the Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.