At Gophers women’s basketball games this year, fans might have noticed two similar players.
Taiye and Kehinde Bello, twin sisters, play on Minnesota's women’s basketball team. Their situation of being twins on the same college sports team sets them apart from others.
“I think it’s pretty weird because not a lot of people get to go to the same college as their siblings, let alone play on the same team. So it’s just kind of cool having somebody there, especially being far away from home,” said Kehinde Bello.
Following successful prep basketball careers in Southfield, Michigan, the sisters hope to win a Big Ten Championship for Minnesota, as well as make a big run in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Currently in their junior years, Taiye Bello is majoring in information technology while Kehinde Bello is studying applied economics.
Their bond has helped them develop as student-athletes and people — but it does not define them.
“I think as a twin, a lot of people, especially when you’re younger, they don’t really see you as individuals. Also, at the same time, they compare you a lot,” said Taiye Bello. “That’s kind of been an issue, [but] as you grow older and you get to know yourself more, you become more of an individual. And that kind of doesn’t become as much of a problem anymore.”
This season, Taiye Bello has been especially dominant for the Gophers. She started off the year with three consecutive double-doubles, and she's already grabbed 68 rebounds through five games. In spite of this, Taiye Bello speaks humbly about her quick start.
“I felt like this year — because my role is bigger — there is a need to fill that role. With more responsibility, your impact is going to be greater,” said Taiye Bello. “You put in the work in the off-season, and then it’s going to show once you start playing.”
Still, Taiye Bello does not take all the credit for her success. She is thankful for the environment the coaches have created for her, as well as for her relationship with her sister.
“We’ve always played on the same team, so I guess we’re used to it. But it’s definitely nice having my sister. Not only going to the same college, but also playing on the same team as me is fun,” said Taiye Bello. “We pushed each other a lot, especially because we were always doing the same thing in terms of sports. So it’s definitely competitive, which is good, because you have someone always pushing you.”
Kehinde Bello only echoed her sister’s remarks when thinking about the relationship they share.
“In practice we're always competing, and we just try and make each other better, no matter what,” said Kehinde Bello.