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Nneka wins first battle of Ogwumike sisters and former Stanford stars

Chiney (right) and Nneka Ogwumike at the 2011 ESPY Awards
Chiney (right) and Nneka Ogwumike at the 2011 ESPY Awards
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The inevitable occurred on Sunday, when sisters Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike played against each other on the basketball court, something they had avoided for years, even when they were teammates at Stanford. In fact, they guarded each other through most of the Los Angeles Sparks' 90-64 WNBA victory over the Connecticut Sun on Sunday in Uncasville, Conn.

The game was lopsided, and the sisters provided the game's only intrigue, with big sister Nneka getting the better of Chiney statistically. Nneka had 24 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes, and Chiney had 18 points and six boards in 32 minutes of action.

Nneka, who was the No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick in 2012, and Chiney, who was selected first overall this year, are the only pair of siblings other than the Manning brothers to both be No. 1 overall picks in a professional sports draft.

Their statistics this season are remarkably similar, with Nneka averaging 15.4 points and 7.7 rebounds and Chiney averaging 15.4 points and 8.3 boards.

But, what is more remarkable is that they almost never met as opponents until Sunday. They have gone out of their way to avoid head-to-head confrontations in any competitions. They always chose to be on the same team, even when they were practicing at Stanford. One-on-one games in the driveway were not considered.

They guarded each other briefly during a preseason practice at Stanford when Chiney was a freshman and Nneka a junior, according to an Associated Press report.

"It was a little competitive," Nneka said, according to The Associated Press article. "She claims she didn't do anything, but she was fouling me. I told her she was going to regret it. After threats were made, coach took us out."

Chiney said she caught an elbow and ran off the court.

In any case, it was determined that the team and the sisters would be better served if they were on the same team during practice.

So they never faced each other on the court again until Sunday.

''I think there were more emotions before tiopff when I realized, `Oh I'm actually going to play against Chiney,''' Nneka Ogwumike said, according to the Associated Press report of the game. ''It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We're both aggressive and competitive and I thought it was a good matchup.''

Nearly 30 members of the Ogwumike family attended the game, including their mother and father and a younger sister.

The next meeting of the Sun and Sparks -- and thus the next meeting of the Ogwumike sisters -- will be Sunday, August 3, in Los Angeles. That will be their only other meeting this season unless the Sparks and Sun play each other in the postseason.

You can catch some video of the Ogwumikes' Sunday battle here.