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Basketball-German sisters show ‘Berlin pride’ as they face off on WNBA court


By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – German sisters Nyara and Satou Sabally will see each other on opposite sides of the court when the WNBA’s New York Liberty and the Dallas Wings play this weekend, in a show of what international talent can accomplish, the pair said on Friday.

Professional basketball has long been a family affair in the United States, with siblings scattered throughout the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and their women’s counterpart.

But two sisters facing off on the same court is far rarer and, in this instance, a show of how far European basketball has come, said Wings forward Satou, who is two years her sister’s senior.

“How special it is to actually have two sisters competing in the best league in the world,” the former second overall draft pick, told reporters.

“We are not from here, so I feel like that just makes it even more special that we show how great European basketball is and how good Berlin – Berlin pride – can be as well.

“I think we’re making a lot of people proud at home and we’re inspiring a lot of girls to play basketball, to cross borders internationally.”

Satou and Nyara, the Liberty’s fifth overall pick in the 2022 draft, were part of the same Oregon collegiate team that reached the NCAA Final Four in 2019 but never got to take the court at the same time.

Their former coach at Oregon, Kelly Graves, said it was “biggest disappointments” of his career that they never featured in a game together.

“We’re obviously all really excited to see you,” Graves told the sisters from Eugene, Oregon, at their Friday press conference. “I’ve been hearing a buzz around town about watching you two.”

Nyara, a forward for the Liberty, said it was only a matter of “when” – not if – she would see her older sister on the same court.

“I’m pretty confident in both of our abilities and I know that we are able to play on the biggest stage,” she said.

The Sabally sisters showed no apprehension about playing one another at Sunday’s game in Brooklyn but could take notes from another notable pair of siblings to play in the top-flight American league, Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike.

The Ogwumike sisters are only the second set to siblings ever to be selected first overall in a draft in North American professional sports, after the NFL’s Peyton and Eli Manning, and faced off at the 2015 All-Star Game.

The pair are now team mates on the Los Angeles Sparks.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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