Basketball success has followed the Giles sisters all throughout their high school careers.
Now that’s continuing on the hardwood for the University of Regina Cougars team.
The Cougars team are currently among the nation’s best — ranked third in Canada according to U Sports — and are preparing to host the national championships in March.
Two of their keys to success have been Kyanna and Kyia Giles, twin sisters from Winnipeg, Man., who are in their second years on the team.
Head Coach Dave Taylor said he’s wanted them on his for a long time.
“I started recruiting in Grade 9,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t necessarily for sure a package deal but we certainly wanted both of them.”
Kyia Giles said she and Kyanna had offers to go play at different schools from one another.
“Something was missing, there was one thing that was missing so I think after coming back and talking it was just like we needed to be together,” Kyia said. “We wanted that.”
Kyanna has not only been one of the Cougars best players but is one of the best in the country.
Last year’s U Sports Rookie of the Year is currently 11th in points per game, with 15.9, and 12th in total rebounds per game, with 8.1, in Canada West.
Kyanna said she’s trying to improve her game all-around in her second season and doesn’t let the accolades force extra pressure on her.
“That’s extra stress that’s not necessary, I just play my game and if I play well, I play well, but I do have it in the back of my mind that my teammates are counting on me so I get that to motivate me.”
While Kyanna has been a mainstay on the Cougars starting lineup, her sister has worked hard to become one of the team’s best players coming off the bench.
After not getting much playing time in her first year, Kyia has earned more and more minutes this season by becoming one of the team’s defensive anchors.
“I always say when you’re on the court, you’re going to get scoring chances but a good way to get on the court is to be somebody who can defend,” Taylor said.
Kyia said she takes pride in the confidence her coach has in her this season.
Kyanna is also glad to see her sister is getting more minutes in their second year.
“It’s just going to take me back to my high school days pretty much and I’m excited for that.”
As for a sibling rivalry on the court, Kyanna said it doesn’t exist.
“With us, people think that there’s a rivalry, but sometimes we will be like ‘oh I’m at 15, you’re at 14’ but it’s good competition so we like that and it motivates us.”
Meanwhile, Kyia said that there is a bit of a rivalry, but it’s all in good fun.
“She was obviously Rookie of the Year last year so if I score more points than her in a game it’s like ‘Kyanna, I’m coming for you, just remember I’m here and I’m waiting for you, I’m going to be better than you,’” Kyia said. “It’s all fun and games though.”
The Cougars are playing host to the Brandon Bobcats Saturday night at 6 p.m.
The national championships will be held from March 8-11.