Borlase bursts out of the gates with dominant debut

ONE of the biggest positives in an exciting opening round of the WNBL for season 2022/23 was the debut of 18-year-old Isobel Borlase for the Adelaide Lightning.

While her side fell by eight points to the Flyers in their opening clash, largely due to some blistering three-point shooting from Southside, Borlase was a standout in her first WNBL game. Despite being inexperienced in Adelaide colours, she played with the class of a veteran, and was her side’s best player across all four quarters.

Hailing from sporting royalty (her dad Daryl was a Port Adelaide premiership player in the SANFL and her mother Jenny represented Australia as a netballer), Borlase looked at home at the professional level, and appears to have a bright career awaiting her.

Southside Flyers (99) def. Adelaide Lightning (91)

Isobel Borlase – 25 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals

As is the case with most debutants, Borlase came off the bench in her first outing, but did not have to wait long before hitting the court for the first time. She came in after just three minutes of game time, and got involved quite quickly with a clever pass to a cutting Jacinta Munroe, who made no mistake on the driving lay-up.

Borlase took no time to find her comfort on the court, pulling down two boards in quick succession, one on the defensive end before following up with a put-back lay-up down the other end, showcasing her work rate. Borlase continued to prove herself as a strong rebounder, flying in for the loose ball both offensively and defensively. She finished the quarter using her strength and smarts to draw contact, and subsequently nail both free throws.

Borlase’s strong work continued into the second quarter, reading a bad pass from Rebecca Cole and pulling off the interception. She was rewarded for her hard work with a nice mid-range shot to keep Adelaide in the game. Borlase recorded her second assist with a nice dish out to the perimeter, finding a wide open Sam Simons, who splashed home the trifecta.

What goes around seems to come around as Borlase found herself on the end of a nice pass from Lauren Mansfield and made no mistake with the inside shot. She scored again inside a couple of minutes later, before heading to the bench for a thoroughly deserved rest. However, it only lasted a minute or so as she was brought back in for the final few minutes of the half. Borlase stripped the ball from Sara Blicavs for her second steal of the match. and nailed yet another jump-shot from mid range to close out an astounding debut half.

Borlase started the second half on the bench, and came into the game for the final six minutes of the third term. She registered her third assist with another clever pass to a driving teammate, and was doing a bit of everything for the Lightning. Borlase made a couple of trips to the charity stripe towards the end of the term, and while she only nailed half of her four attempts, another mid-range on the eve of three quarter time seemed a fitting way to close out the term.

She started the fourth term with a pair of turnovers, as the first game nerves finally kicked in, although it was not enough to throw Borlase off her game. Instead of panicking and losing her composure, Borlase remained calm and continued to stick to what she knew – rebounding and inside scoring (a trait that would have been drilled through by her parents). She gave Adelaide a fighting chance with a timely three-pointer that cut the margin back to 10 points. Unfortunately, the Lightning could not rally behind the shot, eventually suffering an eight-point loss.

Although it was a tough defeat, the Lightning still had a major positive come out of the game, with Borlase displaying she is a player to watch in the coming years.

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