LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — From UNLV to Arizona, it’s a Thomas family showdown as sisters Jade, a sophomore guard for the Lady Rebels, and Sam, a senior forward for the Wildcats, will meet in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m just so excited… now we know who we are playing and I’m just so excited to go to Tuscon and play in the Mckale center,” said Jade Thomas.
Sam Thomas also added, “Everyone is just like tuning in… oh my gosh.. This is so crazy how is it that two sisters are playing each other?”
For the Thomas family, basketball has always ran deep as they are no strangers to winning.
Derek Thomas, father of Sam and Jade, said, “we have 11 total (state championships) Bailey won 3 state championships… Jade and Sam each won four, and now each one of them will make an appearance in the NCAA Tournament."
From being local hoops stars in Las Vegas to now the big dance, it’s the first time the two will meet as opponents.
"It's definitely a dream come true," said Jade. Pac-12 and Mountain West are different conferences, so for us to crossover and play each other, I didn’t even think it could happen.“
Sam shared, "I’m really excited just to see my family and have us all in the same area. I know all of Jade’s teammates, so I’m just happy to see them, but at the same time I know they are my competition.”
Tina track: despite the matchup, the two sisters say at the end of the day… it’s all love.
Jade stated, “Sam’s my best friend. We grew up super close. We shared a room for so long, and we’ve always been super close.”
“I probably talk to her honestly every day. She’s always facetiming me," said Sam. "We’re honestly just like best friends, so it’s super sad that we have to play. Each other and someone’s season is gonna have to end but at the same time, it’s very exciting.”
As for mom and dad, they won’t be picking any sides.
Derek said, “we feel like we’ve already got a win win situation. The fact that we have 2 kids in the NCAA Tournament is a wonderful thing. Then my wife starts thinking, one of my children is gonna be sad by the end of the night, so you start thinking, This is gonna be pretty odd.”
No. 13 UNLV will face No. 4 Arizona on Saturday at 7PM in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.