Dreams come true for the Ups twins

Twins Liisa, left, and Katherine Ups have four-year sports scholarships in New York. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
Twins Liisa, left, and Katherine Ups have four-year sports scholarships in New York. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI


Twin sisters Katherine and Liisa Ups are USA-bound after earning basketball scholarships with Buffalo University in New York.

The 18-year-old siblings have progressed through the Illawarra junior ranks and represented NSW for the past four years.

They leave Wollongong in early July to take up four-year scholarships with the Bulls, a Division 1 college, and expect to shed a few tears in the days leading up to their departure.

‘‘I’m a bit nervous about leaving home to go somewhere completely new, leaving all my family and friends,’’ Katherine said.

‘‘It definitely makes it a bit easier knowing that we’ll be over there together. It’s what we always wanted to do.’’

The former Smith’s Hill High students are going with the blessing of their parents, Tracey and Peeter.

‘‘Some days I’m nervous or sad about missing family and friends,’’ Liisa said.

‘‘Mum will probably get on her iPad and won’t stop Skyping.’’

Katherine and Liisa are key members of the Illawarra Kittyhawks, helping the team capture its maiden Waratah Basketball League title last year.

The Kittyhawks are third this season, boosting their record to 7-2 with Saturday’s road win over Newcastle.

Unlike a lot of twins, the Ups girls don’t claim to share a magical sixth sense, be it on the court or when they’re far apart.

‘‘There’s no special twin powers,’’ Katherine said.

‘‘We play together well because we know exactly what each other is going to do, but that’s probably just because we’ve played together forever.’’

Both Ups girls are 175centimetres and play back-court positions.

Liisa is a point guard who can shift to shooting guard, while Katherine is a shooting guard who can handle the playmaking duties.

Like any college freshmen, they know they will have to prove themselves to earn their playing time.

‘‘It could start off being only a few minutes here and there in the first year, but we’re just looking forward to being part of the whole college experience,’’ Katherine said.

Liisa and Katherine will look to Europe after their senior year of college.

‘‘I never really thought about the WNBA,’’ Liisa said.

‘‘It’s always been about going to college and trying to make it in the Euro League.’’


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