Haley Schneider and her older brother, Ryan, used to gang up on younger sister Kellyn.
With Kellyn being the baby of the family, that’s not unexpected.
But that all changed when Kellyn entered high school and started playing basketball for Monterey on the same court as Haley, said Jill Schneider, the sisters’ mother and high school coach.
Four years later, with Haley a junior and Kellyn a freshman at Texas Tech, that bond still exists and shows on the court as they suit up in scarlet and black.
“It’s always been fun playing with her,” Haley said, “but I think each level it gets more exciting. High school it was cool, but in college that’s really an experience that’s limited to not a large group of people. So I know it’s special and I love it.”
Haley and Kellyn are nothing alike.
Sure, they are both 6-foot-5, play on the Texas Tech women’s basketball team and share the same genes, but the likenesses pretty much stop there,
“We’re not at all similar in our personality,” Haley Schneider said. “I really can’t think of one personality trait that we have in common.”
Haley is reserved, (“My idea of a good time is sitting around with friends watching a movie on a Friday night,” she said) and Kellyn never stops moving (“Kellyn is just a goober and is very silly,” their mom said).
They also bring different playing styles to the Lady Raiders, despite both looking the part of dominant post players.
While Haley epitomizes the role of a post player, Kellyn is more like a point guard in a center’s body.
The younger Schneider isn’t afraid to step out and pop a 3-pointer or dribble along the perimeter.
“Her versatility in that size, it’s unique,” Tech coach Kristy Curry said. “She can step out and hit the 3, and she can take you down low.”
Haley is still developing as a center, but is playing better this season in an increased role.
Haley played just 60 minutes in her first two seasons. This year, with the Lady Raiders (7-1) preparing for a 2 p.m. clash today against Northern Colorado (2-5), Haley already has played 58 minutes in a larger role.
“It’s great to see how hard Haley’s worked,” Curry said, “and then to see Kellyn, they complement each other so well. And so it’s a great combination together.”
Kellyn has played 66 minutes this season on a senior-dominated squad, but she’s already shown the flashes of what excites Curry so much about the freshman.
She ran up and down the court in a 75-56 win against Illinois on Dec. 5, played along the perimeter and in the paint and Curry said the first-year player grew up before her eyes.
“She’s got a bright future and she does a great job,” Curry said. “It’s fun seeing her come in and be aggressive. That’s what you want her to do, to have that attacking mentality.”
Although Kellyn is still just a rotation player fighting for minutes, she’s taken the right approach to her first collegiate season.
Against New Orleans, she turned in an efficient performance with a career-high eight points in just 13 minutes.
“I just try to make the most of my playing time,” she said, “because I know I’m going to play in smaller spurts, and so I feel like if I do make the most of my playing time, I feel like I’ll eventually gain more respect for myself.”
Room to grow
As both Jill and Curry pointed out, you can’t coach size — that’s what made Haley and Kellyn so great in high school.
In college, though, it takes more.
The elder Schneider has spent plenty of time answering Kellyn’s questions about the nuances of the college game, and the pair knows it can’t rely simply on their size any more.
“It’s a more physical and more mental game, so you have to be more focused,” Haley said. “In high school, having two 6-5 girls on the same team, high low was the only thing we had to run, but here you have to employ your post moves and work on things like that.”
When Kellyn came to Tech, she already had good idea of what to expect thanks to her sister’s experiences.
Kellyn was able to learn from Haley in a unique way not many incoming athletes can, which has made her transition to being a Lady Raider easier.
“Haley had kind of kept us on a day-to-day basis of each other,” Kellyn said. “She’d kind of give me the 411 on the players and she would give them the 411 on me. I already knew what to kind of expect from everyone.”
Both Haley and Kellyn know they have a rare opportunity to play together on one of the highest levels of collegiate basketball.
Curry said she hasn’t coached a pair of sisters together on any level, but she knows she’s part of a special experience.
“It’s such a great example for sisters to watch,” Curry said. “I know my two (daughters) enjoy watching them, so it’s kind of unique.”
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