Despite playing apart for the first time, former Cal Poly Women’s Basketball guards Dynn and Lynn Leaupepe are making a big impact in their debut season overseas.
While the journeys of the twin sisters have been intertwined their entire lives, their first seasons of professional play have put them on different paths.
“The last time I saw her was in November, [before] I got to Denmark,” Dynn said. “It’s actually really crazy.”
Dynn has had a standout first season with Basketball Klubben Amager in Copenhagen, Denmark. She was named the 2019 Dameligaen Player of the Year after leading her team to win the Danish Championship.
“Having finished my senior year the way that we did, it made me want to continue playing basketball,” Dynn said. “It’s been a huge part of my life, so I didn’t want it to end after college.”
Lynn is midway through her first season with the reigning Australian Big V State Champions, the Sunbury Jets. Playing in Victoria, Australia, Lynn ranks fifth in the league with 21.5 points per game.
“I really just wanted to keep playing basketball as long as I can,” Lynn said. “So I think being able to go overseas sounded really fun.”
The Leaupepes are not only adjusting to life after college – this is also the first time they are both playing and living apart.
“It’s very difficult to not play with your best friend anymore,” Dynn said. “It’s something that we’ve been used to pretty much our whole life, so that’s been a huge change for the both of us.”
“The first couple of practices were hard because I was always used to having someone next to me,” Lynn said. “Even in the warm ups and stuff, it was so, so different. I definitely miss playing with her.”
Constant phone calls keep the twins in contact, but the 9,906 mile separation between Copenhagen and Sunbury is hard to ignore.
“Being a phone call away from each other is way different than just being able to walk across the room to talk to her,” Lynn said. “Whenever we do call, we always make sure that we always check up on each other, make sure that we’re okay.”
The Camarillo natives were recruited to the Mustangs as a package deal. Through their four years as Mustangs, the Leaupepes made their mark in Cal Poly’s record book. Dynn is the program’s third all-time leading scorer with 1,636 points. Lynn ranks No. 12 with 1,048 points and is Cal Poly’s fifth all-time best rebounder, with a career average of 6.1 rebounds per game.
Dynn and Lynn credited the guidance of Cal Poly’s coaching staff as essential to their post-college success.
“Definitely making sure, whether it’s during games or practices, that you’re having a voice,” Lynn said. “Just having a positive and high energy attitude, whether you’re playing a lot or not.”
“Being accountable for what we do when they’re not watching was a big thing,” Dynn said. “They always reminded us to be the best teammate, player [and] person that we can be.”
These lessons, combined with their talent and hard work, have propelled the twins to successful seasons— as it has many times before. But now, they are succeeding as individuals.
“I think we’ve come to realize we can do it without each other,” Dynn said. “But it’s just more fun to do it with each other.”
With BK Amager, Dynn showed she is a balanced player by averaging 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Dynn’s team went 19-8 overall, finishing third in the regular season. According to Dynn, even that was an accomplishment for the team.
“My team and I were able to turn it around when playoff time came around,” Dynn said. “We were the underdogs, just like how it was my senior year at Cal Poly.”
BK Amager powered through the playoffs to reach the finals. On May 1, before the third game of the championship match, Dynn was presented with the league’s player of the year award. Then, lead by Dynn’s team-high 20 points, BK Amager claimed the championship, with a 75-69 win on May 4. After sealing the 3-1 series win, Dynn received the finals MVP award.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the individual accolades at all,” Dynn said. “It felt really great. I never really won player of the year award in college.”
Lynn’s team, the Sunbury Jets, are on a seven-game winning streak and are just one win short of first place in the season standings. Expectations for the Jets are high, as they have won three straight championships. For Lynn, joining the successful club has been accompanied with a lot of learning.
“We have a lot of different plays that we can run,” Lynn said. “It’s kind of a huge playbook … So knowing the plays to perfection is a really big deal.”
While Lynn started in a majority of her games at Cal Poly, she is often coming off the bench for Sunbury.
“I feel like with this team, I play better coming off the bench than starting,” Lynn said. “I’m still getting used to the team, just trying to get a feel of what’s working and what’s not working for us.”
Lynn scored a season-high 32 points against the Southern Peninsula Sharks on April 13. The Jets are halfway through the season with five games left to play.
While Lynn looks to help power the Jets to a fourth-straight championship, Dynn will soon be playing for a deeper meaning. Dynn will join the Samoan national team at the 2019 Pacific Games starting July 7.
“It’s a big deal for me, and especially for my family, to be able to represent the island that our family originated from,” Dynn said.
A total of 24 countries will compete at the multi-sport event, which is held every four years. Lynn was also invited, but is unable to attend since she will be finishing up her season with the Jets.
For Dynn, this will be a homecoming to her family’s roots, as the games will be held in Apia, Samoa.
“I haven’t been there since I was about 13 years old,” Dynn said. “Mostly I’m just looking forward to being able to represent the island of Samoa and being able continue to play the sport I enjoy playing.”
As the paths of the Leaupepe twins continue to diverge, they find comfort in knowing their closest friend will always be supporting them, regardless of the difference in distance and time.
“It means a lot,” Dynn said. “It shows no matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, we have each other’s support.”