The Wirth twins at Gonzaga are used to the question: Which one are you?
No. 12 Gonzaga heads into the West Coast Conference women’s tournament this week with not one, but two sets of twins: the Wirth sisters and the Truong sisters.
But the Bulldogs aren’t the only team that will have fans in Las Vegas seeing double. Pepperdine also has twins on its roster.
For Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth, there was no question whether they’d play together in college and Spokane, Washington, was a good fit.
“It’s hard to play together with someone for this long and not know their tendencies and not know what they like to do. And so we’ve just learned to play off of each other really well,” Jenn Wirth said. “That’s part of the reason why we wanted to play college basketball together. We play off each other really well and we know what the other one’s looking for and where to look when we’re on the court together.”
The identical twins, who are 6-foot-3 junior forwards, come from an athletic family. Dad Alan Wirth played for the Oakland Athletics and older sister Christina played for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever after a college career at Vanderbilt.
Both sisters are starters for Gonzaga. Jenn is averaging 10.5 points and 6.9 rebounds, while LeeAnne averages 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.
“They work really well with each other and they play a lot of minutes together. They love to joke that it’s a twin thing. I think that’s their way of lobbying for more minutes on the court,” joked Gonzaga coach Lisa Fortier said.
The Wirth sisters are joined on Gonzaga’s roster by freshman guards Kayleigh and Kaylynne Truong, who are both averaging double-digit minutes.
“We were fortunate enough that both sets of them are really good. You know, you’re always unsure, is one better than the other? Are they both good?” Fortier said. “For us, with these two specific sets, they’re both talented. They both bring a ton to our team.”
There are 13 sets of twins on Division I women’s teams this season but Gonzaga is the only program with two sets.
The Zags went 28-2 this season, the team’s best record ever. Their appearance in the AP poll at No. 11 last week was the team’s highest ranking ever. The team went 17-1 in WCC play and ended the season on a five-game winning streak.
The top-seeded Bulldogs have a bye in the WCC tournament until the semifinals, which means they won’t play until Monday night against a team to be determined. Gonzaga has won eight WCC tournament titles since 2007, more than any other team.
On Tuesday, Gonzaga guard Jill Townsend was named the league’s Player of the Year after averaging 12.2 points and 5.7 rebounds a game.
Gonzaga’s only conference loss this season was on the road at Saint Mary’s on Feb. 8. The team suffered a blow at the start of the month when senior Katie Campbell was lost for the season with a knee injury.
This season’s Zags have a decidedly defensive look compared to past season. They’re ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 51.3 points per game.
Defense was an emphasis after the Bulldogs lost Zykera Rice and Laura Stockton to graduation last season.
“I think this group does a really good job of having each other’s backs in a variety of different places and ways. And defense is a place where that’s showing up,” Fortier said. “I did not think we were gonna be as good a defensive team, to be honest with you, as we have become.”
The WCC tournament opens Thursday at the Orleans Arena. Ninth-seeded San Francisco plays eighth-seeded Santa Clara in the opening game, followed by tenth-seeded Loyola Marymount against seventh seed Saint Mary’s.
Sixth-seeded Pepperdine’s roster features redshirt freshman twin guards Jayda and Jayla Ruffus-Milner. The Waves play the winner of the game between LMU and Saint Mary’s on Friday.
San Francisco has twin Croatian guards Marta and Marija Galic, but Marta has not played this season.