Maria Bulanova has been named Bowler of the Year in the Southland Bowling League after a vote of the league’s head coaches and media representatives. This is the first year the SBL has honored individuals post-season so Bulanova becomes the first recipient.
The junior from Moscow, Russia, has had a dominating season in the NCAA’s toughest and deepest conference, in which seven of eight members are ranked in the Top 25.
A two-time All-American, Bulanova has made four all-tournament teams during the 2018-19 season, earning Most Valuable Player honors at the Prairie View Invitational and the Columbia 300 Music City Classic. Her clutch play from her anchor position has helped propel Vanderbilt to three consecutive tournament victories and a school-record tying five tourney wins on the season.
Bulanova leads the SBL in many statistical categories including individual scoring (21.91), individual frame fill percentage (88.7), strike percentage (52.9), Baker double percentage (54.3) and perhaps the most significant, the Player Composite Performance Index that combines and considers a variety of statistics.
“It’s an honor to be selected the Bowler of the Year because I think this is the strongest bowling conference in the country, a lot of good players and good teams,” Bulanova said. “I could only do it because I have good coaches and good teammates around me; we all push each other to improve. It’s much easier to do well when you have good teammates bowling well, too.”