This archived article was written by: Marcelo Ruediger
A former player on the Brazilian national team is a crucial player for women’s basketball team performance.
Ana Carolina da Silva Borges is a freshman for the Lady Eagles. She was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and joined the Utah State University Eastern team in the fall of 2014. Borges started playing basketball when she was nine, and was recruited for the Brazilian National team four times.
When Borges was 12, she played basketball at her first club called Centro Olimpico de Treinamento e Pesquisa (COTP). After playing six years at COTP, she was invited to play at Sao Jose dos Campus, a bigger club also located in the center of Sao Paulo. Borges spent a year in Sao Jose and then transferred to Americana where she was offered better opportunities to improve her game. After a year in Americana, she went to another club in Brazil where she spent her last six months studying English, playing basketball and preparing to come to Price.
Coach Vando Becheli, the men’s basketball head coach, was the person who saw Borges playing when she was only 17. Realizing the talent she had, he gave her the opportunity to join the Eagles team three years after, when she was 20. “It was always my dream to come to the United States to play basketball and live here. I only decided to wait a couple years before I come because I wanted to make sure I was prepared to leave home and my family,” Borges said.
As a Brazilian citizen, her first language is Portuguese. Learning English in a short period of time was really tough. In order to be able to come to the U.S., she had to take the TOEFL, which is a test for foreign students to measure their English speaking, listening and writing ability. “This test was way harder than I thought, but with the help of my English teachers in Brazil and my effort, I was able to get enough to pass it.”
Borges’ biggest challenge to leave her home country was leaving her family. “I was always very close to my parents, especially my mom. I miss them a lot, and sometimes it is pretty hard for me to stay so far from them.” However, her dream to play at high level college basketball, then follow a professional basketball career and make money out of it, was strong enough to overcome those barriers and bring her thousands miles away from home.
As in basketball, Borges has had to adapt to the speed of the game. “The game here in America is quicker, more running.” This season, Borges was the starter at the power forward position for the Eagles. She contributed with 8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Borges is coming back next year as a sophomore and brings with her great expectations for the season. Her biggest dream is to go to the University of North Carolina, but if it does not work out, she wants to go to another Division I school where she will have a good chance to move on to the professional level after she graduates. “Next year, I hope to play better and help my team even more. I think this year I was good but I am sure I can help the team more. All I have to do is work hard.”