IN FOCUS: JAMAICAN SUPERSTAR CARLA BORREGO

14 May 2010– by Angela Colless

In 2009, the Adelaide Thunderbirds fell one win short of the ultimate prize.

While Sharelle McMahon and Bianca Chatfield raised the Championship trophy, Natalie von Bertouch and her team stood deflated and exhausted on the side of the court.

There was no question whether the eight-goal loss to the Melbourne Vixens in front of over 9000 fans at Hisense Arena hurt the proud Adelaide club.

So for next year to have a different result, for the Thunderbirds to go one better, something had to change.

In 2010, Carla Borrego became a Thunderbird.

Standing at 193cm, a former Jamaican team member as well as a Miami University basketball scholarship holder, Borrego is a true athlete.

And after eight rounds she has taken the ANZ Championship by storm.

Averaging 38 goals a game at 77%, the goal shooter is the shining light for the Thunderbirds up forward.

For co-captain and centre von Bertouch the former basketballer in the Thunderbirds line-up this year makes her job in attack an easier task.

`You throw the ball up anywhere in the end and she gets it, so it`s very nice being a feeder to her,` von Bertouch explained.

`She is just absolutely outstanding for us, and I think a lot of the defenders in the league are finding her very challenging.`

Pulse defender Ama Agbeze definitely had trouble containing Borrego in Round 5 when the two teams met in Wellington.

Borrego shot 58/59 (98%) that day equaling the highest individual score in the ANZ Championship and spearheaded her team to a 35-goal win. She shares her shooting record with fellow Jamaican Romelda Aiken, which is an exciting prospect for the Jamaican Sunshine Girls come Commonwealth Games time in October.

Borrego looks at home in the ANZ Championship but the agile shooter was actually stunned by how much the game has changed while she had been out of the sport.

`I was shocked at how fast and intense it was and how physical,` Borrego explained.

`I`ve been out of the sport for quite some time and I still remember when the shooter couldn’t move as much, and the defence would have to really think twice about their movements because contacts were really high.

`Now in the ANZ Championship it`s more of a challenge which is so exciting because you can really contest the ball.`

However the shock to the system didn`t last long with the Jamaican`s scoring capacity crucial to the Thunderbirds winning four consecutive matches from Round 3 to 7.

However the Thunderbirds came unstuck on the weekend, going down to competition leaders the undefeated NSW Swifts by 16-goals in Sydney.

While the loss has halted the Thunderbirds momentum, their shooting sensation Borrego means they still remain in premiership contention with no team underestimating their ability to score, and score quickly.

So with Borrego now established as a real superstar of the ANZ Championship there is no doubt that the competition labels the Thunderbirds as a real title threat which is what Borrego has thought of her new team all along.

`We can win, of course we can.

`The coaches are amazing, the girls are hungry we can work hard and obviously the goal is to get it and that`s what we are hunting for.`
Catch the shooting sensation, Borrego in the Thunderbirds next game

Adelaide Thunderbirds v Melbourne Vixens 
ETSA Park, Adelaide 
Sunday, 2:20PM 
Visit www.thunderbirds.anz-championship.com for tickets
SKY Sport Time: 16:30; TEN Time: 14:30

(All times shown are local)

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