Sisters Satou Sabally and Nyara Sabally will face each other for the first time as the New York Liberty host the Dallas Wings at Barclays Center this Sunday. They will be the eighth set of sisters to play against each other in the league’s 27-year history, from Heather and Heidi Burge in the early years to arguably the most successful and iconic of them in current Los Angeles Sparks stars Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike.
The Sabally sisters come a long way, starting with the family settling in Germany during their youth. They played there throughout high school, where they met in a local school tournament. Satou then committed to the Oregon Ducks in 2017 and formed a dynamic duo with future Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu. Nyara Sabally joined them in 2018, but she sat out the season after suffering a torn ACL during the 2018 FIBA U18 Women's European Championship. Sadly, the two never got to play together.
Satou Sabally then opted to enter the WNBA Draft and started 14 of 16 games played for the Dallas Wings in the shortened 2020 rookie season held in a bubble in Bradenton, Florida. She averaged 13.9 points per game and 7.8 rebounds and was the only rookie on the league’s social justice council. That same year, Nyara finally suited up for the Ducks and started 21 of Oregon’s 24 games, leading the team in scoring and rebounding. Nyara would play there for one more year before declaring for the WNBA Draft in 2022, which Nyara had to sit out for that season due to another knee surgery.
Fast forward to 2023, Nyara Sabally is now a key piece off the bench for the championship-contender Liberty (4-2) while playing and learning behind the likes of Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones. The early all-rookie team candidate is averaging 5.3 points, fifth among rookies, and 1.5 rebounds in 9.9 minutes per game, which ranks 12th.
Meanwhile, the more established Satou, after a historic start, is well on her way to another All-Star nod with the Wings. She’s averaging a career-high 22.4 points and a career-high 10.6 rebounds while shooting 46.8% overall, 36.4% from 3, 90.2% from the free-throw line, and adding on average three assists and 1.9 steals per game.
The two sisters always envisioned making it big, but Satou admitted that the two dreamt of playing together.
“I never imagined playing against her, but obviously once you knew where we were going it was like, ‘Oh, I’ll see you soon.’ But, I knew for sure when we didn’t play together in college, we would play with each other in the league one day. Now we’re not, but it’s in a cool way. So that’s fine.”
Despite this, it is sure to be a heartwarming and epic reunion between the two.