KENNESAW, Ga. — For most players, seeing an opponent for the eighth time in their career spells familiarity. And when Kennesaw State senior Ashley Holliday took to the floor at Jacksonville on Jan. 14, it was no different.
Holliday, who held a career record of 4-2 against Jacksonville going into last week’s game, was looking for win number five at Swisher Gymnasium, but in order to get it, she had to do something she’s never done before, face off against her younger sister and Jacksonville point guard, Britney Holliday.
While Britney is in her second year with the Dolphins, she was sidelined during the first meeting between the two schools last season with Ashley out for the second meeting due to injury.
|HOLLIDAY SISTER CLASH (JAN. 14, 2013)|
“We have always been on the same team so this is going to be the first time playing against her in college,” Britney said about facing her older sister. “We were always competitive, it was horrible back when we were younger, but we got over it. When I would steal the basketball in practice, we wouldn’t talk for the rest of the day. It was really competitive.”
When Britney subbed in at the 11:40 mark in the first half, she was given the defensive assignment of a lifetime, to guard her older sister, one of the best 3-point shooters in the Atlantic Sun Conference. And in the very next possession for the Owls, Ashley took the step-back jumper and nailed it from 15 feet. Britney came out of the game and checked back in with 4:55 to go in the first half. Again, older sister Ashley connected on a field goal, this one from 25 feet.
And while Jacksonville may have won the war, taking a 64-52 win, it was the older sibling Ashley who won the one-on-one battle, outscoring Britney 11-2 while holding her little sister to just a 1-for-6 shooting performance from the field, not that it really mattered to either of them.
“I was very excited to play against my little sister,” Ashley said. “We have both worked so hard to get to this point. It’s been our goal to play at this level. Win or lose, it was going to be good for our family.”
Neither sister cared to give a guess on who mom was cheering for more, but a proud Michelle Holliday was in the stands, cheering on both of her daughters, in neutral colors.
“I’m not sure who she’s going for more,” Ashley said. “Last year, she called us the week of the game and wished us both good luck. I know she just wants to see both of us do well.”
In the grand scheme of things, while they may not be wearing the same color jersey, the two sisters will always have each other’s backs, and that was no different when it came time for Britney to select where she wanted to play ball coming out of J.L. Mann Academy in the family’s hometown of Greenville, S.C.
Instead of pressuring her little sister to follow in her footsteps at KSU, Ashley took the time to explain to Britney what to look for in a program and how to make the most out of her collegiate visits.
“I was very straight forward with her,” Ashley said. “Overall, I told her that playing [college basketball] was never going to be easy. You have to compete and work hard at it every day.”
“She was very, very happy for me,” Brittney said of her sister’s reaction upon choosing Jacksonville. “She was like ‘Make sure you talk to the coaches about everything and make sure you honestly talk to your teammates first. Ask all of the questions you can to your teammates because they are going to be very honest.’ That helped me a lot. She was very positive about the whole situation.”
While the two will meet just once more in the regular season before Ashley graduates at the end of this season, on Feb. 9, this time in Kennesaw, Ga., the two can proudly look back fondly on their time spent on the court, both together and apart.