An unexpected arrival

Redshirt junior forward did not plan on coming to U.S. until her parents encouraged her to give it a chance



Redshirt junior forward Borislava Hristova pushes past Warner Pacific defense in an attempt to score Monday at Beasley Coliseum.

TAYLOR DUNLAP, Evergreen sports editor

After living in Varna, Bulgaria, all her life, Borislava ‘Bobi’ Hristova had to make massive adjustments when she moved to Washington to start her college career as a forward on the WSU women’s basketball team. Not only was she forced to make living adjustments, but she also had to adapt to the different style of basketball that was played in the U.S.

Hristova said she started playing basketball under her parents’ influence when she was in the third grade. Coming from a home filled with athletes, she said her family brought her into the gym with them which gradually developed into her passion for the sport.

Hristova’s journey to play at WSU was unexpected as she said she initially did not want to come to the states to play. However, she said her parents saw the offer from WSU as an opportunity for her and encouraged her to try it out.

“In the beginning I never thought of coming into the states,” Hristova said. “I was kind of, you know, negative, but my parents were like ‘Go try it and you can come back anytime’ and I was like, I’m just going to try it and see how things will go.”

Hristova said her parents were not the only ones who convinced her to come to WSU. Senior center Maria Kostourkova, who is also from Europe, talked with her and encouraged her to give it a shot. With that, Hristova said she was set and determined to play in a different country, leading to the start of what would be a successful college career.

Coming into WSU from a different country was somewhat of a challenge for Hristova as she spoke very little English and was adapting to the new environment, she said. Although this was a hard transition, she said the school offered support and that her overall experience at WSU has been great.

“Since my freshman year I did not know the language good and the help that I got was just tremendous,” Hristova said. “Everyone on the athletics just helps you achieve your goals and keep a high academic performance along with support.”

With the support from the school, Hristova said she quickly adjusted to living in Pullman and attending college. However, there was one other thing that posed a challenge: the fact that the style of basketball was different in the U.S.

Hristova said her first year at WSU was filled with a lot of weight training and conditioning due to the fact that basketball in America was played with much higher intensity than in Bulgaria. She said she soon realized she needed to strengthen herself to give her more power and speed so she could be a successful competitor on the team.

“Back in Europe, it’s not as fast as it is here and I think that’s the biggest difference,” she said. “It’s not as focused on strength and power.”

Hristova started 29 out of 30 games her freshman year, scoring in double digits 26 times throughout the season. In her first year she broke a 26-year-old record of scoring 20-plus points in nine games and set a WSU freshman scoring record with 490 total points.

Going into her sophomore year, she said she was excited to continue what she started until, after only nine games, she suffered a foot injury that took her out for the season. This injury led to her redshirt sophomore season in 2017-18.

In that season, Hristova led the team in scoring as she averaged 17.8 points per game and she became the second-fastest player to reach 1,000 points in only 60 games played. Hristova has played a crucial role in the scoring aspect on the team; however, her goal for this season is to be a more well-rounded player.

“I believe everyone can step up and contribute to the team in different ways,” Hristova said. “But this year I’m going to emphasize on not being just a one-way player but extend my game to rebound more, involve my teammates, assist and also just play defensively.”

Coming into this season with five freshman and a new head coach, Hristova plans on serving as a role model to her teammates. Last season, the team ended with a 10-20 overall record, so Hristova said she and the team want to strive for more wins this year.

The upcoming season is approaching fast for Hristova as the team has already competed in its exhibition game against Warner Pacific University. The team earned a 106-41 win, with Hristova leading the team in scoring at 26 points while adding six rebounds and four assists.

After playing in the exhibition game, Hristova said she is excited for the new team and ready to take on the new season.

“It’s good to be back, that’s the biggest thing,” Hristova said. “I think we have a lot to prove to people and this game was kind of the start.”