SportsWomen's Basketball

Twin talents: Hull sisters shine on Stanford women’s basketball

March 31, 2022, 12:03 a.m.

Since senior guards Lexie and Lacie Hull joined the Cardinal in 2018, Stanford’s record is 116-16. You don’t need a math degree to deduce that is 100 more wins than losses since they both arrived on The Farm. 

To the average NCAA basketball fan, that statistic is otherworldly, considering the challenges each team faces during the basketball season — especially the difficulty of staying consistently elite year after year.

But Lexie and Lacie have been able to face this challenge head-on throughout their basketball careers and time at Stanford. Playing an integral role in building the camaraderie of the team after competing together for so many years, the twins have the Cardinal on the brink of another NCAA Final Four appearance and have one last chance to build their legacy on the Farm.

Lexie has recorded double-digit point totals in each of the Cardinal’s four games in the NCAA tournament thus far, including dropping 36 points in 36 minutes to lead Stanford to victory in the Round of 32. Lacie played all 40 minutes in the team’s Elite Eight win over Texas and has one of the highest three-point percentages on the team, shooting 40.9% from beyond the arc. Her lockdown defense often helps the Cardinal stifle the opposing team’s leading scorer.

The beginning of their basketball careers

Basketball genes run in the Hull family; the Hull sisters’ father was a Division III All-American at Whitworth in 1994, and their grandfather played at Western Washington. 

“[Basketball] was always a thing that I wanted to do based purely on my dad and grandpa being role models, and then just loving it when we started playing,” Lacie said. “So I think that there is that ingrained love for the game.”

Lexie and Lacie learned to play under the mentorship of their father and grandfather, but they weren’t the only ones: their mother also started playing when her daughters began learning. 

“I think that that was also fun because, early on, we would all be going at pretty much the same pace,” Lexie said. “And so I think it was fun to play with [our mom]. Now it’s just really fun to go to the gym, and she’ll shoot a couple of shots, and it makes things low stakes and heart lighthearted.”

From a young age, both Lexie and Lacie were persistent in their craft and committed to basketball. Almost every day before and after school, their parents, Jamie and Jason Hull, would take the twins to the gym.

“We have friends that said, ‘You know, before we knew you, you were the parents who had their kids in the gym before elementary school,’” Jamie said.

Growing up, playing against each other helped the twins develop as players. While they played on the same teams their whole life, their basketball journey was marked by countless fierce one-on-one games on the driveway. And perhaps that is where their competitive spirit comes from; like any twin pairing, neither one likes to lose to the other, no matter how big or small the game.

“I remember that one day Lacie had won like three games in a row,” Lexie said. “And I was just so mad, and I was like, ‘Lacie, play me again. I don’t want to come inside. I’m not coming into dinner until I win,’ and I remember sitting under the basketball hoop in our driveway crying, begging Lacie to come play me because I wanted to win at least one game that day.”

Lexie’s “drive and competitive spirit is contagious,” sophomore guard Hannah Jump said. “And the type of player she is is someone I know every single person on this team looks up to.”

Ultimate teammates

Growing up and playing together on the same teams from a young age has also produced the ultimate teammates. Each twin feels like she has a deep understanding of the other, giving them a special connection on the court that few, if any, duos are able to replicate.

“We can read each other on the court,” Lexie said. “Even in life outside of basketball, we see things and we kind of think the same way or will respond to things in a very similar way.”

However, their similarities only go so deep on the court. Lacie considers herself a passer, averaging just under three assists per game this season, while Lexie is more of a scorer, averaging 11.5 points per game this season.

“I think it’s just our personalities,” Lacie said. “I’ve always said that I love making a great pass. Making an incredible pass makes me feel as good if not better than making a layup and so I think that part of it is our personalities, part of it is just how we’ve always played.”

Whether it is on offense or defense, the sisters are able to understand each other and what is going on around them and adjust quickly to what is needed.

“There is that willingness to take risks,” Lacie said, explaining that she knows her sister will be there to back her up. “I think it all comes down to the expectation and the familiarity of having played with each other for so long.”

‘Our family and our friends were each other’

Time is an important tool for developing relationships with others. Both on and off the court, the Hull sisters make the most of their time with the rest of the Stanford team in order to create chemistry with others that rivals their own. 

While the team is on the younger side — only five of the 17 rostered players have played more than three full seasons — Lexie and Lacie have been able to build special connections on the court with all of their teammates. 

Sixth-year guard Anna Wilson and fifth-year forward Alyssa Jerome have played with Lexie and Lacie for the longest time out of anyone on the team. In their time as teammates, the twins have come to trust Wilson and Jerome like sisters. Some younger players, like sophomore forward Cameron Brink, call the twins “the heart of the team” thanks to their strong and meaningful connections throughout the roster.

Upperclassmen on the team also share another unprecedented bonding experience: the 2020-21 COVID season.

Playing basketball through a pandemic may have had a negative impact on many college sports teams, but for the close-knit Stanford women’s team, the time spent together, especially on the road, only allowed them to develop an even more special dynamic on the court. 

“Last year with COVID, I think our team grew a lot closer because our family and our friends were each other in that year,” Lexie said. “We did not have exposure to many outside people.”

Outside of Wilson and Jerome, one teammate in particular stands out as a close friend; junior forward Fran Belibi has developed a tight bond with the twins.

“Off the court, we joke around like Fran is a triplet,” Lacie said. “But I think on the court too, like in the pick and roll, that relationship has really improved. Just knowing that she’s going to roll if there is a gap between the defense, and you make the pass knowing she will grab it.”

Belibi returned the kind words on Senior Night, when she said that “it was an absolute honor growing up with [the twins] over the last three years.”

Legacy on the Farm

During their time at Stanford, Lexie and Lacie have won two Pac-12 Championships and the 2021 NCAA Championship. Leading the Cardinal during this impressive stretch, they have been a highlight of coach VanDerveer’s tenure with the team.

“I told Jason and Jamie that I am mad that they only had twins and not triplets,” said head coach Tara VanDerveer.

“We seniors were reminiscing after winning the Pac-12, saying things like ‘This never gets old,'” Lexie said. “Winning is always going to be fun. And so I think that the wins, especially the big wins, we have had have been moments of absolute joy.”

Along with the 116 wins, multiple conference titles and a national championship, the twins have accumulated individual awards as well. They represented Stanford together in the 2019 USA Women’s 3×3 National Championship alongside Wilson and Estella Moschkau ’20. This past week, both Lexie and Lacie were named to the 2022 Academic All-American team, in addition to them already being two-time Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll members. 

Off the court, both are in their senior year at Stanford. Lexie is majoring in Management Science and Engineering, while Lacie is majoring in Product Design. As described by the Stanford women’s basketball team’s Instagram, the two are “Twintelligent.”

Lacie was the 2021 Pac-12 Sixth Player of the Year, being honored as the best non-starter in the Pac-12. She was also a member of the 2019 Pac-12 All-Freshman team.

Lexie has an equally impressive resume. She was named to the 2021 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team and the 2021 NCAA Alamo Region All-Tournament team after impressive performances in numerous of the team’s NCAA tournament games last year. She is also the 2022 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the year and has collected multiple All-Pac-12 team honors.

Looking ahead, the Hull twins hope to lead Stanford through the NCAA Tournament to a second consecutive championship. Back in the twins’ hometown of Spokane, the Cardinal secured a 72-66 win over No. 13 Maryland in the Sweet Sixteen on Mar. 25 and followed it with an Elite Eight victory over No. 6 Texas on Mar. 27.

The Hulls’ opportunity to play tournament games in their hometown was reminiscent of last year’s Final Four, when the Cardinal played in Kiana Williams’ ’21 hometown, San Antonio. The Cardinal won the championship in front of Williams’ friends and family.

This tournament is the twins’ final time putting on the Stanford uniforms, and both will leave Stanford with gratitude for the community of fans, teammates, coaches and friends. 

“Just leaving knowing that we love each other so much, and the coaching staff loves us, we love them,” Lexie said. “And just knowing that we have such a great support system for our entire lives. That is something that we have really been able to appreciate outside of basketball.”

“I could write a book about how much each person, each person on our team, each person on the coaching staff has made an impact on me,” Lacie said. “I think that the value that they have brought to me, and the mark they have left on me, will be lifelong. That is what I’m taking away: how lucky I have been to be surrounded by such incredible people.”

Noah Maltzman is a staff writer for the sports section. He is originally from Philadelphia but has lived in the Bay Area since 2015. Noah is a freshman who plans on majoring within the STEM field. He is a Michigan and Detroit sports fan, despite never living in the state of Michigan. In fact, he initially brought more Michigan paraphernalia to college than Stanford apparel. Contact him at sports 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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