Arkansas bowler rolls to Ruby lead at 2021 USBC Women's Championships

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By Aaron Smith and Ikra Zakir
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev.
- DaShonda Bailey of Little Rock, Arkansas, put together an inspiring performance at the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships to take the lead in Ruby All-Events.

The 35-year-old right-hander rolled sets of 724 in singles, 680 in team and 651 in doubles to take over the top spot by nearly 100 pins with a 2,055 total. LaShun Vessel of Houston had set the mark June 19 with 1,958.

Bailey's run to the all-events lead finished with games of 200, 244 and 280 to also take over second place in singles. Dawn Sundblade of Indian Trail, North Carolina, leads Ruby Singles with 732.

Bailey's performance in doubles also helped her and Little Rock's Cynthia Pumphrey into fourth place in Emerald Doubles with 1,148. Dawn Leuellen-Howie of Phoenix and Sabrina Tucci of Glendale, Arizona, lead Emerald Doubles with 1,220.

The trip to the National Bowling Stadium this year served as a tribute for Bailey and her teammates to honor a team member who died in March, Dorinda Moore. Moore had made 13 USBC Women's Championships appearances.

"We did this in honor of our team member who passed away in March," said Bailey, who made her ninth consecutive tournament appearance.

Prior to her trip to Reno, Bailey had been working with her coach in addition to adding some new equipment to her arsenal to get ready for the 2021 event.

The strong set in team to start her appearance in 2021 proved that the hard work had paid off, which also increased her confidence heading into doubles and singles.

"My brother is my coach, and we were working on setting up my approach and putting in a lot of practice," Bailey said. "My performance in the team event gave me a lot of confidence going into doubles and singles. I even posted on Facebook about bowling well in team and being ready for doubles and singles."

Her doubles set started with games of 221 and 230, before finishing the series with a 200 game. After repeating the effort to start singles, Bailey stayed ahead of the moves during her final two games and rolled 19 strikes to average 262 down the stretch.

"I tried to pay attention to the lanes and watch the transition," Bailey said. "I was able to get in the correct position."

Bailey now has a short wait to see if her score will be enough to claim her first Women's Championships title. The 2021 event will come to a close July 4.

Ruby Singles and Ruby All-Events features bowlers with entering averages of 161-174. Emerald Doubles includes bowlers with combined entering averages of 298-321.

A new leader also emerged in Topaz Singles at the NBS.

Joan Boesen of Bullhead City, Arizona, rolled 200 in her final game to move to the top of the leaderboard with a 518 series. She had started her three-game series with 187 and 131 and used the momentum of five consecutive strikes, starting in the third frame, to make her run in the final game.

Rebecca Grant of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, had held the lead with 514.

Boesen started her 2021 appearance with sets of 440 in doubles and 362 in team for a 1,320 all-events total, which places her 21st overall. Grant leads Topaz All-Events with 1,506.

Topaz Singles and Topaz All-Events features bowlers with entering averages of 124 and below.