Big game helps Kansas bowler into singles lead at WC

RENO, Nev. - Lisa Kelley of Wichita, Kan., made the trip to the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships for a reunion with her college teammates and walked away with much more as she rolled the 14th 299 game in tournament history on her way to the Division 1 Singles lead Sunday afternoon.

The 40-year-old right-hander rolled games of 257 and 192 before making her run at the record books. A 2 pin on her final delivery cost her a chance at a perfect game, but her 748 series was just enough to sneak into the lead. Brandy Sanderson of Bossier City, La., took the singles lead earlier in the day with 743.

Kelley struggled during her doubles set, but a big move to the left helped her get more comfortable and open up the lanes at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

"I made a big move left," said Kelley, who made her sixth USBC Women's Championships appearance. "I like to stand left and throw it right. That's my comfort zone. I made some really good shots, but in the 10th, I should have moved a little bit."

Kelley rolled a perfect game at the 2001 USBC Queens and reflected on that experience as she tried to add another 300 on bowling's biggest stage.

"In my mind, I was thinking I had done this at the Queens, so there's no reason I can't do it now," Kelley said. "I just wanted to get out there, let it go and see what happened."

Kelley's main reason for making the trip to Reno this year was to spend time with some of her teammates from her collegiate bowling days at Wichita State. Although some of the group hadn't seen each other in nearly 20 years, they quickly fell back into rhythm and enjoyed the chance to spend time on the lanes once again.

"They're like my family," Kelley said. "To have a group of peers that you had such a great collegiate bowling experience with is pretty special. To have them be a part of this is a big deal. I had so much fun bowling with them."

Even if she doesn't hold onto the lead until the 2014 Women's Championships concludes June 30, Kelley is proud to see her name at the top of the leaderboard.

"I was pretty excited when I found out," Kelley said. "It probably won't hold up since these girls are so good now, but it's fun to say I have the lead for a minute, a day or however long it may be. I'm pretty proud of it. If it held on, it would be one of the most important achievements I've accomplished." 

Kelley added sets of 532 in team and 527 in doubles to finish her 2014 event with an all-events total of 1,807.

Bowlers competing in Division 1 have entering averages of 190 and above.

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Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Women's Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.