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New Family Rivalries: Twin sisters Ella and Josie Pinkerton will line up as opponents in the 2024 New Balance University Basketball League Finals

While sport rivalries are seen and have been celebrated throughout sport history in Australia, two student basketballers from Newcastle have taken that rivalry to the next level in 2024 with twin sisters Ella and Josie Pinkerton set to line up against each other in round one of the New Balance UBL finals. 


The sisters both began their university journey at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Eleanor currently studying a double degree of Bachelor of Science (Ecology) and Bachelor of Social Research & Policy and Josephine having graduated from a Bachelor of Architecture.  


However, it was the decision to undertake a Masters degree that resulted in Josie commencing study at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), the sisters going their separate ways for the first time.  


Having started in the sport thanks to Basketball Australia’s Aussie Hoops program in Newcastle, both Ella and Josie tall for their age at only eight or nine, their choice of sport was simple.  


Their passion for basketball followed them into university, something that Josie said was a huge asset to moving away from home and her sister.  


“Basketball is a great team sport, no matter how big or small the place where you live.” Josie said.  


“There is always a local team or social comps to get involved with. Despite moving to Tassie and having no contacts at all, it was by finding these smaller, more social teams that I was able to meet so many people.  


“Since then, I've been lucky enough to continue playing high level basketball while studying. It’s the support of the basketball community around me that has made life so enjoyable.” 


Taking the adjustment in their stride, Josie and Ella are thriving during their university experiences and have not only continued participating in the sport they love, but created new communities around themselves, something completely new particularly for Josie. 


“By playing sport at university, we've made some of the strongest friendships we'll ever have.” She explained.  


“It’s through sport that you can build connections with likeminded people. Because Ella and I have both been involved with the Student-Lead Basketball Club at UNSW. 


“We've seen first-hand the relationships people can make from their first year through to their last, and how important these are for social and mental well-being.”  


Looking ahead to the 2024 New Balance UBL finals, it’s been a new experience for both sisters since Josie moved to Tasmania, not just being apart for a longer duration, but going against each other on court for the first time.  


Having been incredibly close and ‘best friends’ growing up, it’s an exciting but perhaps nerve-wracking time for the Pinkerton household.  


“I'm so excited!” Josie said. “It’s been awesome watching Ella and those involved at UNSW build their UBL team over the past year. 


“The fact that I get to be involved with their first run into the post-season is awesome even while playing with UTAS from the other end of the court!” 


It’s safe to assume these two talented student-athletes will be quick to swap colours in support of the other regardless of the result. 


But when it comes to Tuesday’s quarter final, it’s anyone’s guess which sister will come away with bragging rights, with Josie cautiously optimistic.  


“It helps that UTAS have home court advantage, but I'd like to think it’s an even ball game!” 


You can watch Ella and Josie on court when the University of Tasmania host the University of New South Wales in the 2024 New Balance UBL quarter finals live or streamed on UniSportTV,


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