Ogwumike sisters set to square off

As teammates in both high school and college, sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike never had to battle each other as opponents. Now they will when Los Angeles visits Connecticut on Sunday. Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

Leave it to the Ogwumike sisters to sound joyful even about something they kind of dread.

Sunday in Connecticut, Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike will square off as foes for the first time in their WNBA careers. They really don't look forward to it, although they're as upbeat as ever in talking about it.

"It's not something you dream of doing, but it's inevitable and we're ready to accept this challenge," said Nneka, whose Los Angeles Sparks visit Chiney's Sun team at 1 p.m. ET on NBA TV. "My family is trying to figure out what they're going to do when they see us on the court against each other. We are trying to laugh it off a little bit. It's going to be so weird playing against her."

This isn't a Dottie and Kit thing like in "A League of Their Own" where the older sibling really wasn't competitive toward her younger sister, but it definitely didn't work that way in reverse. With the Ogwumikes, Nneka looks out for Chiney, and Chiney is just as supportive of Nneka.

"We've always been more a collaborative duo," Chiney said. "We found so much more happiness playing together. That's just the kind of relationship we have. More so, I'm excited to see her, rather than to play against her."

As high school teammates in Cypress, Texas, and college teammates at Stanford, they were rarely ever in opposition, even in practice. Wait ... what about in one-on-one on the playground or the driveway? In board games? Video games? Seeing who could make more A's? Who could brush her teeth the fastest?

Nope, that's just not how these two are wired. To the envy of parents everywhere, Peter and Ify Ogwumike have been able to raise these two world-class student athletes -- they were drafted No. 1 in the WNBA two years apart -- who don't have the slightest sibling rivalry. Sounds like there's a book to be written, followed by the talk-show circuit for mom and dad, doesn't it?

That they are in different conferences is to the relief of both Nneka and Chiney. As long as the WNBA schedule stays as it is, they will have just two regular-season meetings each year. The only other time they could face off would be the WNBA Finals.

While neither sister relishes them having to be adversaries on court, they are both fully committed to playing as well as they can for their respective teams. The Sun are currently in third place in the Eastern Conference at 9-12. The Sparks are in fourth place in the West at 8-11.

The Sun is a young team with not necessarily a lot expected -- especially since they finished with the worst record in the league last season. Meanwhile, the Sparks did have high expectations, and even the players themselves would acknowledge the team has underperformed thus far.

But individually, both Ogwumikes are having strong seasons. Nneka, who turned 24 earlier this month, is averaging 14.9 points and 7.8 rebounds -- numbers almost identical to those of her first two WNBA seasons.

Chiney, who turned 22 in March, is averaging 15.3 points and 8.5 rebounds as she looks to duplicate Nneka's 2012 feat of winning WNBA rookie of the year honors.

"She's doing amazingly well, nothing less than I thought she would do," Nneka said. "She's a tough player to guard. And I do try to help her from a distance. I want her to have a smooth path from college to professionalism. She takes advice very well, and is always asking questions. We talk every day.

"It's fun to be able to share this experience with somebody else. As weird as it is that we're playing against each other, it's really special to be so close to someone going through the exact same things that I went through as a rookie."

The Ogwumikes' parents will be in attendance Sunday in Connecticut, along with one of their younger sisters and some cousins. Safe to say that fan contingent will be cheering for both the Sun and the Sparks.

"It not something I'm used to, or I ever wanted to get used to," Nneka said of facing off against Chiney. "But I think we'll learn from it. It will be a nice, maturing experience."

And Chiney points out that the big picture is a very happy one, too.

"It's great for our family," Chiney said. "We didn't grow up expecting basketball would take us this far. To have this amazing life, in which we're so fortunate and get to play in the best league in the world, it's more a celebration than, 'Who's going to win?' "

But then, Chiney added with a laugh, "Although, we definitely do need to win."