Information from the Women’s Professional Bowling Association:
Tucsonan Bryanna Coté lost Sunday in the finals of the 2021 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour Championship at Reno, Nev., but the Canyon del Oro grad earned Player of the Year honors for the first time in her career.
Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, captured her second major title, and first since 2006, in a dominating performance against Coté. She won 244-178 to claim the final major of the 2021 PWBA Tour season.
Pluhowsky earned $50,000 for the victory, and Coté collected $25,000 for her runner-up finish. The stepladder finals of the Tour Championship were broadcast live from the National Bowling Stadium on CBS Sports Network.
Coté’s runner-up finish also secured her spot at the top of the season-long points list.
The 35-year-old right-hander collected her second career PWBA Tour title in January at the PWBA ITRC Classic, and she added three runner-up finishes in her six championship-round appearances during the season.
She entered the events in Reno this week eighth in points but quickly entered the conversation for the postseason award with her runner-up finish Tuesday.
“I had talked to my husband about it, and coming into Reno, we never even thought player of the year was on the table,” Coté said. “I knew the points were very close, especially with two regular events and a major to go, and things could shift around pretty easily. You can’t count out those ahead of you, though, because they’re there for a reason. All I could do was just bowl and try to bowl great. When I realized I was getting closer and put myself in position to be player of the year, I just stayed the course and tried to stay focused. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be.”
In the title match, Pluhowsky built the early advantage after connecting for four consecutive strikes, beginning in the second frame. Coté left back-to-back splits the first two times she bowled on the left lane and was unable to convert either. She struggled to find a consistent look on that lane to get back into the match, and Pluhowsky filled frames to pull away.
Coté was the top seed for Sunday’s stepladder after averaging more than 233 in match play Friday and Saturday, but she had trouble figuring out the left lane on the championship pair.
She noted some struggles on that lane earlier in the week during the finals of the PWBA Reno Classic, where she also was the top seed and finished as the runner-up to Stephanie Zavala of Downey, Calif.
“I feel like I had the right lane down pretty well, but I’m still trying to figure out what was happening on the left lane,” Coté said. “I struggled with it at the Reno Classic, too. I made some moves, but you only get five shots on each lane, and everything is a guessing game when you get lost in that position. Shannon was bowling great, and I had to try to find ways to strike.”
The Tour Championship was the third event of the PWBA Fall Classic Series, which also included the Reno Classic and PWBA Pepsi Classic.