WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Sanogo twins enjoying time at Odessa College

Mar. 11—It's hard to keep Sarengbe and Mariam Sanogo separated.

When one of the two sisters from Paris wanted to come to the United States to play college basketball, the other wanted to join.

The two French players' journey led them to Odessa College where they are finishing up their sophomore season with the Lady Wranglers.

Both players have played a crucial part in the Lady Wranglers' season.

Odessa College is currently 27-3 overall, 13-1 in WJCAC and preparing for this week's Region 5 Tournament in Weatherford.

The Lady Wranglers enter as the No. 2 seed and will face No. 3 Temple College at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

The two have been impact players for the Lady Wranglers.

"We're lucky we're both playing basketball here," Sarangebe Sanogo said. "We like it."

Mariam Sanogo has currently averaged 5.2 points per game and shot 42.5 percent while her sister Sarengbe is currently averaging 11.8 points per game, averaging 2.3-3.7 free throws a game and averaging 4.7-7.1 field goals a game for a 65.6 percentage.

Mariam is currently averaging 3.6 rebounds a game.

"I followed my sister," Sarangbe Sanogo said. "I'm behind her all the way. She's like my mother. If she came here, I was going to come here ... Now, we love it here. We're glad we came here."

The two players will be hoping for more as they look to help the Lady Wranglers get to the NJCAA tournament in Casper, Wyo.

They feel like the success from this year's team has been from everybody contributing.

"Everybody has believed in this process," Mariam Sanogo said. "We love the trainers and the coaches here. They have the mindset of champions. We're not here for no reason."

The two sisters aren't the only international players on this year's Odessa College women's basketball roster either.

The team has nine total international players listed on the roster, including leading scorer Ivana Krajina from Tomislavgrad, Bonsia and Herzegovina.

"We have a lot of international players on this team, so we're making a lot of sacrifices," Mariam Sanogo said. "We need someone who understands why we're here and that's coach Franqua Bedell. We trust him and he sees what we can do. Everyone is cool with each other and we're talking and listening to each other. It's like a family."

The Lady Wranglers won a share of the WJCAC regular season title with New Mexico Junior College as both teams finished tied for first in the standings and split their regular season games.

Odessa College was ranked No. 10 in the recent NJCAA polls.

"I think the success of this team is the coach and then us together as a team because all of us have the same goals," Sarangebe Sanogo said. "Everything means something. We're like a family. It hasn't been easy. Every coach can say 'we're a big family here,' but here, we actually feel like we're a big family. The goal for everyone here is to win."

Both players have earned praise from Bedell.

"The biggest thing they brought is considerable size in the paint that we didn't have last year," Bedell said. "They do various things. They can shoot. They can rebound. Defensively, they give us size and help us protect the paint. One thing they've also done a good job of is bringing experience. They've also brought a lot of energy. They both care about the team."

Having two players from the same family has also helped out with the team chemistry.

"It's been huge," Bedell said. "One, they're two really good players and that makes any situation amazing. They're great locker room players. They're always willing to do something for someone. They always put the team first. They bring so much character to the team program."