Mutual devotion, respect works for Lewiston sister act


University of Maine at Farmington guards and sisters Jenessa and Kasey Talarico from Lewiston are ready to go for this basketball season

FARMINGTON — There was no evidence of cajoling or arm twisting when Kasey Talarico decided to join her sister, Jenessa, and play field hockey and basketball for the University of Maine at Farmington.

UMF women coach Jamie Beaudoin also backed off from heavily recruiting the Lewiston High School graduate.

“Kasey is more of, she’s coming here. ‘Hey, my sister goes there and I might want to play basketball,’” Beaudoin said. “To be honest, with Kasey, I was pretty much hands off and said, ‘Hey, if this something you want to do, we would love to have you, but if it is not, I ultimately want you to be happy.

“With all of our players, especially to start their careers, I think there is a little transition period. I think it is going to take a little bit of time with her, but having her at practice, she going to push our other guys. Defensively, she adds something that maybe we don’t necessarily have.”

But Beaudoin has known Jenessa for four years and has come to rely on her in backcourt.

“She is one our best shooters. She is a very good interior passer,” Beaudoin said. “When she is driving the lane, she has the ability to find players and is willing to make the bounce pass, which is kind of in some ways a lost art in basketball.

“She is one our most competitive players. If there is a drill in practice, anything that is worth keeping score, she wants to win.”

But there was no keeping these siblings apart for long.

“She originally wanted to be an education major so it kind of just made sense for her to come here,” Jenessa Talarico, a 5-foot-4 senior guard for the Beavers, said. “I definitely recommended it and wanted her to come here.”

But UMF wasn’t a tough sell for Kasey, either.

“I was definitely excited because we got to play basketball and field hockey together in high school for year so coming here to play and to be able to be with her one more time was something to be excited about,” Kasey, who is a freshman guard for UMF, said.

But Jenessa insisted that having Kasey tag along was no conflict for the sisters.

“I think we are far enough apart where it was never really was a competition for us,” Jenessa said.

For years, Kasey watched and rooted for Jenessa at her Lewiston High games before joining the elder sibling on the field.

“When we finally got a chance to play with each other, it was just more like me helping her and her just encouraging me and getting on me when I wasn’t doing what I should be doing,” Jenessa explained.

So at this point, the pair insisted sibling rivalry doesn’t exist between each other.

“Not really, honestly because I would always encourage her to do her best and we both have really different strengths,” Kasey said. “For example, I am really fast on my feet and she is really slow on her feet.

“She would always come to me for advice on how to get really faster and I would always come to her for advice on how should have I kicked this goal in better or how should I do the simplest things better so…we just kind of encourage each other on what we can do better and help each that way.”

Kasey was Jenessa’s substitute during the field hockey season.

“At first, I was like my little sister is going in for me. I kind of didn’t know how I felt about it, but then again, when I am out there, I don’t think I would want anybody else other than my sister going in there for me,” Jenessa said.

“I definitely think that she helped me to get to that next level that I needed to play as freshman,” Kasey said about her sister.

“They are very different in terms of heir style of play,” Beaudoin said. “But I think they both have that competitiveness and they want to win.

“I think there is that little sister competitiveness, too. If they are matched up against each other, Kasey is going to do everything she can do to stop Jenessa. If Jenessa thinks she got fouled, she is going to tell Kasey about it. It is a good thing to have.”

Jenessa added that Kasey also has the same drive on a the basketball court and is one of the better defenders.

“I need that because typically I am slower than the people guarding me so having her in practice guarding me and Morgan (Crocker) is huge to get me ready for the games,” Jenessa said. “I think everybody says, ‘Your team should be your family.’ We are already related. So hopefully how close we are can translate to the entire team.”

UMF’s Kasey Talarico goes up for a shot as her sister Jenessa dribbles the ball during practice Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington.

A player takes a shot during practice at Dearborn Gymnasium.UMF women’s basketball coach Jamie Beaudoin speaks with Chelsea Pruitt during practice at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington.