One of college basketball’s most gifted forwards dribbled in the rain Wednesday before firing a series of jumpers at an outdoor hoop in Pullman.
Borislova Hristova, the Washington State women’s basketball program’s all-time leading scorer and four-time All-Pac-12 selection, is making the most of her social distancing on the Palouse, where WSU and Idaho campuses are mostly vacant due to the novel coronavirus.
The Bulgarian has no access to a gym because of state restrictions, but said she’s found ways to adhere to her workout plan. She’s also used the down time to tidy up her apartment before she leaves Pullman for good.
But Hristova, who hopes to hear her named called in Friday’s WNBA draft on ESPN (4 p.m.), can’t predict her departure.
Unlike the majority of her peers, Hristova, won’t return home during the quarantine due to U.S. and European border restrictions, and will likely watch the league’s “virtual” draft from her college living room.
“It’s been really challenging for everyone (hoping to get drafted), but that’s not an excuse,” said Hristova, who many pundits consider worthy of a second-round selection. “I’ve still been staying in shape and following my diet
“I will probably watch (the draft). I’m not worried about it at all. If it happens, it happens. If I don’t make it this year, I know I have the potential to make it another year, but it would be great to make the first time.”
Hristova – also known as “Bobi Buckets” by teammates, coaches and commentators in a career that included 2,269 points – was a rare Pac-12 star for WSU, a program that’s typically in the lower half of the conference standings.
The 6-foot forward was a versatile scorer in arguably the toughest women’s Division I conference, earning first-team All-Pac-12 distinction and a Cheryl Miller Award finalist, given to the country’s top small forward
Pac-12 standouts litter the 2020 WNBA mock drafts, including Oregon sensation Sabrina Ionescu, widely expected to the No. 1 overall pick.
Hristova’s stock isn’t as clear.
Many mock drafts didn’t forecast past the first round, but College Sports Madness ranked Hristova as the No. 23 overall prospect in the draft and popular sports blog SB Nation predicted Hristova to be the No. 31 pick by the Seattle Storm.
ESPN, which predicted all 32 draft slots, didn’t mention Hristova.
“Hristova was one of the highest-volume scorers in the country as a senior, averaging 18.4 points on a 30.3 percent usage rate. Washington State’s season was nothing to write home about, however, with Hristova being the lone bright spot,” SB Nation wrote. “Perhaps the 6-foot wing player can make an impact in a lower-volume role in Seattle’s training camp.”
Hristova’s WSU teammate, high-scoring guard Chanelle Molina (14.6 points per game, 4.1 assists) may also hear her name called late in the draft or sign as a free agent.
WSU has had only one player drafted by the WNBA in former guard Lia Galdeira, who was the 19th pick in the 2016 by the Washington Mystics.
Before signing with WSU in 2015, Hristova, one of Bulgaria’s top women’s basketball players, initially planned to go pro in Europe.
“It’s an exciting time,” Hristova said. “If I don’t get picked, I’ll still have a shot as a tryout. I can always go home, play professionally in Europe, develop and come back better than I am now.”
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