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Keeping up with the Keoughs

By Ajeeta Khanna
On January 8, 2012

Height.

It's a tangibly prominent characteristic used to describe sisters Kayli (junior forward) and Meghan Keough (freshman guard).

Had it not been for this one detail, their basketball careers and stories may have spelled out differently. Standing at 6-feet-2-inches and 5-feet-9-inches, respectively, the sisters inherited a rather valuable attribute from their parents.

And for good reason.

The pair used this feature to their fullest advantage as they grew up in Land O' Lakes. Little did they know their height and passion for basketball would gradually fortify an inseparable bond between the two.

The road to Orlando

"[Kayli] was really tall, and I think it was in the seventh grade [when she decided that she wanted to] play volleyball and basketball," Meghan said.

Accordingly, Meghan started playing basketball in the fifth grade, following in Kayli's footsteps.

"When she'd play, my dad would always be outside [helping her work on her] layups, and I would want to be a part of it," Meghan said.

It became the other way around when Kayli joined Meghan when she transferred to UCF from FSU after her sophomore season.

"Something just didn't feel right [being up at FSU]," Kayli said.

In her final season as a Seminole, Kayli appeared in 15 of 35 contests. As mandated by NCAA Transfer rules, she sat out the 2010-11 season.

Although it is their first year playing together in their collegiate careers, the two realize they have a unique opportunity to be playing on the same team instead of as rivals.

So far this season, Kayli is averaging 22 minutes per game, using that time to score 7.8 points per contest and accumulate 4.1 rebounds per contest. Meghan is averaging nearly 20 minutes per contest, contributing 4.3 points and 1.5 boards per game.

Best friends, different personalities

Kayli is the more shy sister of the two; she's reserved and soft-spoken, whereas Meghan is more extroverted.

Senior forward Racine Davis, who rooms with the Keough sisters, said that the pair aren't as alike as one might expect.

"Meghan is super nice," Davis said. "She's a bit more feisty compared to Kayli, but they're both great people. Meghan knows what she wants to do whereas Kayli is more relaxed and [goes with the flow]."

Though they sometimes act like polar opposites, they click well.

"We're best friends," Kayli said.

Indeed, both athletes describe their relationship as tight knit.

"We're super close," Meghan said.

But that's not to say that at times they don't get on each other's nerves.

"Our personalities are so different, but that's why we get along so well," Meghan said. "We'll also butt heads sometimes."

Even head coach Joi Williams recognizes the differences between the sisters' personalities.

"I know Meghan is more outgoing and more outspoken than Kayli," Williams said. "Kayli is probably quieter, but Kayli wants to win [so] she's not somebody that is just going to sit back. But if you talk about aggressiveness, Meghan is probably more of that. They complement each other well, including their teammates."

Beyond hoops

Basketball isn't the only aspect that defines the two sisters.

Although their lives have revolved around the sport, the sisters realize their days of playing will one day come to an end, so they have plans for life after basketball.

Taking after her father, Michael, who once played as a quarterback at Tennessee Tech, Kayli has aspirations to enter the legal profession.

"I'd like to go to law school some day," Kayli said.

She currently majors in sociology, while Meghan, who wishes to attend medical school in hopes of becoming a physician, majors in biology.

"When the day comes [of not playing basketball anymore], it's going to be really weird and hard for me, but I'm really focused on going to medical school and I want to become a doctor," Meghan said. "What I think would be the coolest thing ever is if I could go overseas and help people. [I'd like] to do missionary trips over the summer with churches."

Keeping with their different personalities, the two girls differ on who inspires them. Kayli's said her role model growing up was WNBA star Lisa Leslie.

"When I was little I always liked Lisa Leslie, but that was because she was the first name I've ever heard of and then as I found out more about her I knew that I really, really liked her," Kayli said. "I thought she was a great role model. I liked everything that she had to say; [it] was always very positive, always very strong with everything that she did and confident in what she believed in."

Meghan, on the other hand, sees Tim Tebow as an inspiration.

"I know that sounds [like I'm a bandwagon fan], but I do like the message that he sends when he plays, and [I do like] how intense he is," Meghan said. "[I admire] the way he presents himself when he wears John 3:16 [as eye black]."

Off the court, Kayli and Meghan can often be found shopping. The sisters share a particular fondness for Urban Outfitters.

"I'm going to get rich and buy that store," Kayli said.

Meghan was a bit more blunt about her affinity for the brand, and said it gets her ‘into trouble.'

The sisters have had random customers ask if they were models because of their height.

"[Sometimes] they wouldn't know your name, they'd just walk up and [say], ‘Oh my gosh, you are so tall,' like [I] didn't know [I was] tall," Meghan said. "And then they'd [ask] ‘Have you ever modeled?' [Kayli] used to get asked that all the time in high school because of how tall she was."

The questions about modeling don't seem to bother Meghan.

"It'd be my dream job, though," Meghan said. "[To just] take pictures, dress myself up."

Depending on the occasion, the two enjoy dressing up in sundresses or dressing down by sporting tank tops and shorts.

"I think too when you're a [female] athlete, you try to make yourself look more feminine when [you] go out," Meghan said. "Just because I want people know, ‘I'm a girl too!'"

While there is a lot more to the two athletes than life on the court, the Keough sisters seem confident basketball will always remain in their hearts no matter what stage of life they are in.

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