Claire and Amy Jacobs saw the pictures and videos. The blistering bush fires in Australia were damaging the Sydney area where they grew up. The fires led to more than 3,000 homes being destroyed in the country. Firefighters are reportedly dealing with more than 100 fires in New South Wales, which is where Sydney is located.

The freshman twins play basketball at La Salle and spent about five years of their childhood in Sydney before moving across the continent to Perth at about 12 years old.

“It was really a shock to hear about, and it’s really devastating,” Claire said. “It’s really sad to see where we grew up is so damaged.”

Amy and Claire Jacobs are identical twins who were born two minutes apart in Australia, they wear the same size in clothes and shoes, and speak similarly.

That’s about where the similarities end.

Amy is quieter and often called more mature. Claire is more comical and not afraid to start a conversation with anyone. They both think they’re everyone’s favorite twin.

“When people meet us they think we’re similar, but when they get to know us, they think we’re completely different,” Amy said.

“We don’t even dress the same,” Claire added.

Claire Jacobs runs drills during practice. She leads the team, averaging 11.1 points per game.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
Claire Jacobs runs drills during practice. She leads the team, averaging 11.1 points per game.

Last year, they were playing basketball in Australia. The game in Australia is less physical than in America and more about getting teammates involved. Unlike America, no one trash talks.

The twins dominated the Australian league and got La Salle coach Mountain MacGillivray’s attention. MacGillivray was looking through his hundreds of recruiting emails. After seeing the two guards, he reached out to the rest of his staff to confirm what his eyes believed.

“We were instantly impressed with two kids with good size who run well and have a high skillset,” MacGillivray said.

MacGillivray zeroed in on getting the girls to America. They communicated via WhatsApp. Finding two talented guards from the Land Down Under was like striking lightning through a coke bottle.

In late June, the guards arrived in America not knowing what to expect. They had only seen the movies.

“One thing we heard was that there’s deer everywhere, and I’ve only seen like four deer, so I’m really disappointed,” Claire said.

“It’s exactly like the movies,” Amy said.

It was also the first time MacGillivray saw them play up-close.

“Him not seeing us play made it a little bit more stressful personally, because I wanted to make sure that he knew I was capable,” Claire said.

And of course, Amy had an opposite perspective.

“He watched the tapes and personally, I thought if I went and played my game then he has no option but to like it,” she said.

Amy Jacobs works out at practice in the Tom Gola Arena. She averages 7.4 points per game this season.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
Amy Jacobs works out at practice in the Tom Gola Arena. She averages 7.4 points per game this season.

The transition to America hasn’t been too difficult. The La Salle’s basketball team is their extended family, they said.

But like the saying goes, there is no place like home. The twins talk to their parents, Samantha and Adam, as much as possible with their hectic schedule. They come from a close-knit family. Their father is a basketball coach, and they also have a 15-year old sister who they say is “really good" at basketball.

They’re a big part of La Salle’s future. Claire leads the team, averaging 11.1 points, and Amy is fourth with 7.4 per game.

“We’re having so much fun, you can’t even put it into words,” Claire said. “I think over our time here it’s going to get a lot more enjoyable when we learn how to play with each other, all of Mountain’s rules, and how we can impact games more than we are now.”