By Wes DeVoe and Will Anderson
Big 12 Campus Correspondents
The Nash sisters are as close as two siblings can get. Kathleen, or Kat as she’s known, says that despite being younger and an inch shorter than Kristen, the two still eat the same exact meals and weigh the same down to the last ounce.
“Kristen and I never get sick of each other because we know what not to do to get on the other person’s nerves,” Kat said. “It’s the little things.”
Their connection extends to the basketball court as well. When the Nash sisters play at least 10 minutes each, the Texas Longhorns are 4-1 in Big 12 Conference games and undefeated at home.
It’s not often that you find two women taller than six feet strolling the UT campus, let alone two women who happen to be sisters. But that’s the story for Kristen and Kat, who said they are often mistaken for twins.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Kristen said. “I think she’s beautiful so I take it as compliment.”
When they are together, the two act more like best friends than siblings. That’s just the type of bond they share, both in life and in basketball.
“I’m really proud of (Kat),” Kristen added. “I would say I want more good things for her than I want for me, that’s just the kind of relationship we have. I just want her to go out and perform amazingly.”
It all started when Kristen and Kat were playing for West Senior High in Plano, a north Dallas suburb.
“(Kristen) was the star of our team,” Kat said. “She definitely ran the team, she was our leader. She played post and I mostly played guard.”
While Kristen was dominating the inside game, Kat was busy playing volleyball; she earned All-State recognition.
“I always played volleyball, and so basketball was kind of (Kristen’s) sport,” Kat said. “So I just kind of followed her on that.”
It wasn’t until Plano West won the 2006 Texas 5A Championship and Kat was named the tournament MVP that she chose her collegiate sport focus.
“She played a lot of volleyball, but I really didn’t know which way she was going to go – volleyball or basketball,” Plano West Senior High coach Don Patterson said. “I knew that once she decided to concentrate on one sport she was going to improve a lot. It didn’t really surprise me. She was a heck of an athlete at West.”
Patterson said that he remembered the Nash sisters for their work ethic and kindness.
In 2006, Patterson’s dog died. The Nash sisters bought a six-week old retriever and gave it to their coach as a present from the team following West’s State title,
Naming him? That was easy — they decided to call the puppy Champ.
“They were just really good kids who worked hard,” Patterson said. “They were great to be around, that’s for sure.”
Kristen was then recruited to play at Texas, while Kat finished up her last year in Plano. Kristen’s first year at Texas proved to be pivotal in Kat’s decision to come to UT.
“I came and visited her a lot when I was still in high school,” Kat said. “I think that was a big impact because I saw that I liked (Texas), and I knew from playing with her in high school that we love playing together, so it’s something we wanted to do in college.”
And that’s exactly what happened. Kat graduated in 2007, and was able to continue her relationship with her sister on the Forty Acres. Except now, they were wearing burnt orange.
At times they try to get away from the basketball court and just be regular women, although that’s hard to do at a university as highly profiled as Texas.
“We used to double date all the time,” Kristen said. “I’m very protective of her.”
But on the court, there are no dating relationships to worry about. Kat has emerged this season as one of the team’s shining stars and Kristen has become an important defender. In games where Kristen blocks at least one shot or snags a rebound, Kat averages a double-double.
“Now, I think people would look at it more like competition since she’s getting to play more, and I’m more of a role player,” Kristen said. “But really, I don’t think of it like that way. I look at it like she’s a guard, and I’m a post. I don’t try to compete with her. There’s no jealousy or anything like that between us.”
The sisters’ connection has rubbed off on the rest of the team, which is now No. 13 in the nation and near the top of the Big 12 standings.
“Chemistry is a big reason we’re playing better this year,” Kat said. “It’s just a great feeling to be on a team where everybody likes each other.”
Kat, a sophomore, is averaging 13.4 points and 26 minutes of play per game. Kristen, a junior, is averaging 2.8 points and 11 minutes, but has come up with key blocks and steals during the course of the season.
Despite the difference in numbers, some things never change. The Nash sisters love the game of basketball and not even their opponents can break their life-long passion and bond.