While some athletes find their team relationships like family, several members of the women’s basketball team find that sisterhood to be legitimate.
Allison and Monica Arens and Ciara and Caitlin Duffy are sisters on the women’s basketball team who have been playing together for as long as they can remember.
Running in the family
The Arens family has a history of playing basketball together. Allison and Monica play, their older sister Bridget played for USD before graduating in 2016 and they have a younger sister, Alexis, who also plays basketball.
“When we were younger, when I was a fourth or fifth grader and (Monica) was in second or third she would play up in my team every once in awhile,” Allison Arens, a junior, said. “Since then all the way until high school when I was a junior, she was a freshman, we played together there, (and) now here.”
Monica Arens, a first-year, said the atmosphere brought the Arens sisters to USD.
“The atmosphere USD brings and the support of the fans and you still get that small town feeling but the big time experiences,” she said. “I think it’s easy to say that USD has one of the best support systems.”
Allison Arens said having her sibling always there on the court is an enjoyable experience.
“You always have someone there,” she said. “If basketball is going well or not going well, there’s always someone there for you, someone you can talk to, help you through whatever it is you’re going through.”
Allison Arens said she can read her sister well on the court.
“You have a better sense of what the other person’s going to do,” she said. “I feel like if Monica needs a boost or something, I know it right away and I can hopefully give her that boost. Even in practice if we’re ever competing against each other, you always go a little harder on your sister.”
A special connection
Caitlin Duffy, a redshirt senior, said basketball has been the sisters’ “whole lives.”
“We’ve been playing basketball since we were really little,” Caitlin Duffy said.
Ciara Duffy, a sophomore, said there’s a special connection they have playing at USD together.
“We’re not as close to home, but being from South Dakota, getting to represent South Dakota, is really cool,” Ciara Duffy said.
Caitlin Duffy said playing with her sister is a “special thing.”
“In a lot of ways, your teammates become your sisters, but getting to play with your actual sister, it’s to the next level,” she said. “Having that person there that’s with you through the ups and downs of all of it — it’s a very special thing and I think we all feel very lucky.”
The family atmosphere enhances the sibling relationship much more, Caitlin Duffy said.
“We know the power that can come from a family atmosphere… and what you can do when you have that bond,” she said. “USD is this family atmosphere and that’s why we’re able to do the things we do, and we get the literal family with it.”