At first glance, you would think all three earn their playing time by posting up in the paint and banging for rebounds.
But watching them on the basketball court will show you otherwise.
Liz, the eldest of the Daley sisters from Sharon, stands a shade under 6 feet, and younger siblings Emilee (6-foot-2) and Kristen (6-foot-1) are also blessed with height.
Liz, a junior at Emmanuel College, starts as small forward for the Saints, who are 12-4 (4-0 Great Northeast Athletic Conference) after a 68-47 win over host Emerson on Monday.
Emilee and Kristen both start in the backcourt at The Rivers School in Weston. Emilee, a senior shooting guard who has committed to play at Boston College, and Kristen, a sophomore point guard, each average 12.5 points a game for the Red Hawks (12-4, 4-0 Independent Schools League). A year ago, they helped Rivers repeat as New England Prep Class B champions.
“Our parents never really forced us to play a specific sport, but we all just sort of gravitated to basketball,” said Liz, a 2009 graduate of Sharon High, where she also played soccer and lacrosse.
“It’s pretty cool. I love watching them play, and when they come to one of my games and walk in the gym towering over my mother, the girls are all like, ‘They are so tall.’ ”
Basketball is truly a family affair.
Liz, 20, and Emilee, 18, played together for two years at Sharon High before Emilee transferred to Rivers, where she plays alongside Kristen, 15. The siblings try to see as many of each other’s games as possible. For their parents, Kevin and Susan, it’s a juggling act to see as many games as they can.
“Growing up, I was always the tall one in my house, and now I’m the shortest in my house at 5-10,” said Susan Daley. “These girls are amazing. They are very self-motivated, which makes life easy. You never have to ask them to get ready for practice because they do it on their own.”
The entire family was on hand Monday afternoon at Emerson, watching Liz contribute 5 points, 4 steals, and a blocked shot in Emmanuel’s win.
In 16 starts, Liz is averaging 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. She had a career-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting in a 65-62 win over Endicott in December. She also had six steals to go with nine points in a 50-46 loss to Scranton.
“Liz is getting better and better with each game,” said Emmanuel coach Andy Yosinoff, who recorded his 699th career victory on Monday.
“She’s very long, so she’s a very good rebounder and makes a lot of deflections. Offensively, she’s very good at driving to the basket and she’s really developed her 3-point shot this year. For a Division 3 school she is very tall at the three position. She’s a great student and she does a little bit of everything out there.”
While Kevin Daley calls Liz the best overall athlete in the family, Emilee and Kristen are both Division 1 caliber players. During her first two seasons at Rivers, Emilee averaged a team-high 12 points, four assists, two blocks, five rebounds, and four steals per game.
“Both girls have the entire package,” said Rivers girls’ basketball coach Bob Pipe.
“Emilee’s strength is her shooting ability and her ability to score, as well as running the floor and being a leader on the court. Her offensive abilities are fantastic. She is very long and athletic, which makes her a good defender as well and a good passer.
“Kristen is an explosive athlete and finishes at the rim. She’ll be a Division 1 scholarship athlete, no question. She has great offensive skills and shoots the ball really well. Kristen is more of a true guard; she drives to the hoop more than Emilee. The 3-point line is just a line on the court as far as they are concerned. Just stepping on the court they are within range. Emilee will shoot NBA 3’s without even thinking about it.”
While Kristen played the point at all levels of youth basketball, Liz and Emilee did play the post until they reached high school, when their AAU coach suggested a change to the wing.
Although the girls are relatively competitive with one another, things don’t get too heated on the backyard court or during practice at Rivers.
“We don’t take it that seriously,” said Kristen. “We’ve never played against each other because of the age difference, and high school was the first time I got to play with one of my sisters. It’s like a friendly competition. During practice, we’ll occasionally have to cover each other. If she’s driving, I’ll stick a hand in her face so she can’t see. Everyone knows that she doesn’t get down in the post, but when she shoots I don’t even know how far to go out because her range is insane.”
If anything, the game has brought the Daley sisters closer together as siblings.
“Liz and I used to be very competitive when we were younger, but Kristen was too young for that,” said Emilee, whose comfort zone is shooting bombs from well beyond the 3-point line.
“Now it’s more like one of us trying to help each other. If one of us is having a bad game, we can always console each other and help each other focus, which is nice.”John Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.