Basketball ‘family affair’ for WMU sisters

Mark Opfermann
Muskegon Chronicle

Kalamazoo — Basketball has always been a family affair for the Walker family.

This winter, even more so, as sisters Jasmyn and Jordan Walker have been reunited as first-year players on the women’s team at Western Michigan University.

Both have found their way into the starting lineup. Jasmyn as a junior transfer at forward and Jordan, last year’s Miss Basketball winner, as a freshman guard.

They played one season together in high school at Mona Shores and are making the most of a chance to wear the same jersey at WMU.

After playing her first two college seasons at Valparaiso, Jasmyn transferred to WMU and sat out last season. Jordan had already committed to WMU before her junior year of high school, so it turned out to be a package deal.

“Honestly, it’s a blessing for both of us. To be together, it’s an amazing experience like we had in high school. That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing basketball,” Jordan told The Muskegon Chronicle. “To be able to do it again for two more years is something I’m really looking forward to. Doing it now is something I can’t even put into words.”

Jasmyn wanted to be closer to home and is glad they could team up again.

“That was one of the coolest parts,” Jasmyn said. “If I didn’t get that chance, it was going to be OK. If I could get that chance, it was going to be even better.”

Miss Basketball Jordan Walker looks to contribute right away at Western Michigan

WMU women’s basketball coach Shane Clipfell is happy to have both.

He took over the Broncos’ program in 2012 and was just getting settled in and missed the recruiting process on Jasmyn the first time around. He wasn’t going to make the same mistake with Jordan. Despite an ACL tear the summer before her junior season, he recruited her right through the injury.

“To me, it was a no-brainer,” Clipfell said. “Based on what I knew about her, I knew she was going to bounce back and be as good, or better, than before. But with Jordan, no question we were right on that assumption.”

Walker made a quick recovery, playing every game as a junior. Last season, she broke the career scoring record at Mona Shores and earned Miss Basketball honors as the state’s top senior.

Jasmyn is a 5-foot-10 forward while Jordan is a 5-8 point guard who has been used in a shooting role this season. Jasmyn is averaging 7.8 points and nearly 5 rebounds, while Jordan is averaging 6.1 points and 3 rebounds per game.

They do get the chance to play against each other in practice and spend time together putting up extra shots. They even plan to be roommates next season.

The sisters said winning a Mid-American Conference championship is the goal.

“We definitely push each other on the court, off the court,” Jordan said. “When we’re in practice, if I’m guarding her, we go back and forth. She might block my shot, it just goes like that. It’s funny, it reminds me of stuff that happened in high school. She’ll block my shot and I’ll be like ‘don’t block my shot,’ but not realizing that’s going to make me better.”

Jasmyn is trying to round back into form after sitting out last season as a transfer.

“It was unbelievably tough. I learned a lot about off-the-court perspective as well as on-the-court perspective,” she said. “I learned by watching. ... I wouldn’t recommend it.”

The Broncos are 10-7 overall and 3-2 in the MAC heading into Wednesday’s game at Eastern Michigan.