WPIAL Alum Q&A – Sydney Bordonaro
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 | 12:42 AM
Sydney Bordonaro might be considered the best girls basketball player in Burrell history, as she helped establish the Bucs as a championship contender in each of her four varsity seasons. Now on the west coast, Bordonaro’s success has translated to the college level at Pepperdine. She’s the focus of this week’s WPIAL Alum Q&A.
As a high-school freshman in 2011-12, Bordonaro made a big impact, averaging in double figures in scoring, and contributing to Burrell’s 18-5 campaign, which included an 11-3 mark in section play, and a playoff win in a preliminary round contest.
The following season, the Bucs were even better, at 24-4, including a perfect 10-0 in section action. Bordonaro’s squad bested Carlynton and McGuffey in the postseason, before falling in the semifinals to Bishop Canevin. In the state postseason, Burrell knocked off Bellwood-Antis and Sharpsville, but lost against to the Crusaders, this time in the PIAA quarterfinals. For her efforts that season, Bordonaro earned First-Team All-Conference honors.
In 2013-14, Bordonaro continued to elevate her game, as she became a First-Team All-State player in Class AA. Her individual accolades were overshadowed by the team’s success, though, as Burrell went 28-2. After anotehr unblemished section record, the Bucs defeated Shenango, McGuffey and Greensburg Central Catholic en route to the WPIAL Championship game. Burrell came up short to Seton-LaSalle, though. The squads met again in the PIAA semifinals, with the Rebels prevailing, and handing Burrell its only two setbacks of the entire season.
Burrell took a slight step back during Bordonaro’s senior slate, as the Bucs went 22-5. The Bucs defeated Freedom and Chartiers-Houston in postseason play, but tasted defeat to Bishop Canevin in the semifinals. The Bucs’ season and Bordonaro’s prep career ended in the PIAA second round. She once again earned First-Team All-State honors, though, as she averaged nearly 21 points per game, along with 4.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3 steals. She graduated Burrell as the school’s all-time leader in points, assists, three-pointers, and free-throw percentage.
Bordonaro then traveled to California to join Pepperdine University to continue her college career. She appeared poised to play a big role as a true freshman, but suffered a season-ending injury early in the campaign, and was permitted to redshirt, while the Wave sputtered to a 7-24 mark.
This campaign, she’s played in 19 games, including 14 starts, and has averaged just shy of 10 points. While her scoring mark is good for third on the team, Bordonaro leads the squad with a sizzling .430 shooting percentage from behind the arc. The Wave have endured a pair of lengthy losing skids, but at 5-16, including 3-7 in West Coast Conference play, Pepperdine could surpass last year’s success.
Sydney took time away from the hardwood to discuss her injury, the biggest adjustments to life in California, and which NBA players for whom she plans to name her pets.
Q: You played briefly last season before suffering a shoulder injury. How did that injury occur, and how was the recovery process?
A: It occurred in a game vs. UNLV, which was the third game of the season. I was boxing a girl out for a rebound, and it popped out. The recovery process was very long because it was the second time I needed surgery on this shoulder. We were very cautious with everything, so we were able to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
Q: As a result of the injury, you are now a redshirt freshman. What went into the decision to take the redshirt, and how did it benefit you?
A: The injury required surgery immediately. The doctor made that decision for us. He said it was unable to be played on. It benefited me in so many ways. Honestly, it was the biggest blessing for me. I was able to mature more as a person, and got a chance to really focus on my school work. Also, I was able to see the game from a different perspective. I learned what to do and what not to do.
Q: This season, you have been one of the Waves top scorers. How have you been able to score at a high rate?
A: I have a really great point guard who finds me. I shoot 500 shots a day to make sure that my shot is where it needs to be. But for the most part, I have great teammates who find me and put me in the position to knock down shots.
Q: What is an aspect of your game that you need to improve the most?
A: For sure the mental part of the game. I need to learn when and when not to do certain things in different situations. That comes from watching film with my coaches and getting experience playing. But I would for sure say that I need to be a smarter basketball player.
Q: What led to the decision to attend Pepperdine?
A: Since I was younger I always wanted to go to school in California. I loved the coaches and the location. But the biggest thing for me was the opportunity I was going to have to change the culture. That really intrigued me, so that for sure was the biggest reason – To be a part of something so important to a program.
Q: How much of an adjustment have you faced going from Pittsburgh to California?
A: A huge adjustment. Its been very difficult not being around my family and friends. A lot of the adjustment was one that every freshman makes leaving home. But the main thing was having to start over. No one knows who you are and you’re forced to make new friends and make a completely different area home. I think I’ve adjusted well, though. I love it out here.
Q: What’s the best part, and the worst, about Malibu?
A: The best part about Malibu is that it’s right by the beach. The worst part is that there is no regular places to eat. All the restaurants are high end and really expensive, so it’s hard to just run and grab food somewhere between classes.
Q: What is your major and preferred future profession?
A: My major is sports administration. For my future profession, I am not exactly sure yet. I would love to play basketball professionally after college for a few years. Eventually, I would love to get into something along the sports marketing field or sports broadcasting. But I, for sure, want to stay in LA.
Q: What was your fondest memory from high school?
A: Just playing with my best friends and having my friends and family at every game. I think I took all of that for granted. Just being so close with my team and coaches. I’m so thankful for my basketball family from high school. I’m still really close with my teammates and coaches.
Q: If you could give advice to yourself as a freshman at Burrell, what would it be?
A: It would be to watch more film and to be a better student of the game. The mental aspect of the game is something I am struggling with now, and I wish I would’ve learned more at a younger age.
Q: Who was the best individual that you ever faced in the WPIAL?
A: Erin Waskowiak from Bishop Canevin. She was without a doubt the best player in the WPIAL. I love her game.
Q: If you could face anyone one-on-one, who would you pick, and what would the score be?
A: I would have to say Kelsey Plum from the University of Washington. She’s the best there is in college right now, and I’m such a fan of her game. She’s so talented offensively and I’d like to see myself against the best. She’d beat me probably like 11-6.
Q: Are you big into using social media, and if so, which in particular?
A: Yes, I love Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Q: Is there a song or type of music you listen to before games to get you ready?
A: I listen to basically all hip-hop/r&b music.
Q: What is a secret talent or little-known fact about you?
A: When I’m older I’m going to get two dogs. Im going to get a Toy Yorkie and name him Iverson (after Allen Iverson). And then, I am going to get a Pit bull and name him Russell (after Russell Westbrook). They’re my two favorite players and the only players I am a fan of.
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