Sports Xtra Spotlight: Israeli sisters now teammates at UIndy

Posted at 9:33 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 20:58:58-05

INDIANAPOLIS — On the University of Indianapolis women's basketball team, a pair of sisters have a strong bond around the game of basketball. While they may be more than 6,000 miles from home, they found each other here, and they found a new family with the Greyhounds.

Twin sisters Shira and Mickey Sasson - Shira, the older of the pair by just a minute - are on the UIndy women's basketball team. How they ended up here starts on the other side of the world.

"Everything's so different here," Mickey said. "Lucky for me, I like trying new things. So it's been so fun."

Shira and Mickey are from Israel. The coastal city of Ashdod sits just a short drive south of Tel Aviv, on the banks of the Mediterranean.

Playing basketball from an early age, each earned a spot with the Israeli National Team during high school.

"They choose 12 girls out of the whole country, the best players to be on the team," Shira said. "Just the fact they called your name for the tryouts, that's big. Means they think you're good."

Israel requires citizens to serve two years in the military. Shira was in the navy, Mickey in the army. After that, the sisters' desire to continue their basketball careers remained.

"My agent was sending out highlights of mine, to schools in the U.S.," Shira said. "Very soon I got an email from Coach Malone, saying 'would you like to play college basketball?' I looked and my parents and said 'yeah!'"

So, Shira decided to leave Israel, and in the summer of 2017 she ended up at UIndy. A massive change in life for a 20-year-old woman.

"I had to get used to speaking English all the time, hearing English," Shira said. "The fact that Sundays are off, I love it. How big everything is, people are very nice. I love that."

Mickey would eventually join Shira as a member of the Greyhounds basketball team.

"My parents got to meet the coach and talk to them. She said it's a wonderful campus. I thought I'd be lucky to play here," Mickey said. "Coaches wanted me, and I'm grateful that it worked out."

"I missed her. We would do everything together," Shira said. "Played on the same team all of our lives, so having her here really made it extra special."

And so their time on the court together continues. So does the chance to get a college education. Shira is studying biology and chemistry, while Mickey looks forward to a career in psychology.

The two are staying well-connected to their homeland while fully embracing being Hoosiers as well.

"Some people ask us, 'you guys never shut up always talk to each other. How do you never run out of things to say,'" Mickey said. "I don't know; we always have fun."

Shira said her favorite part of basketball is meeting other players. "That's why I'm having such a good time here. Basketball brought us together, brought me here. It's just fantastic. "