From Womb Mates to Teammates: Elif & Ilayda Turgut

Alana Abeyta, Staff Writer

You walk down the stairs leading to the big gym, exhausted after a long day at school. From a distance, you hear the thump of two sets of foot steps running toward you. Before you can look up, you are greeted by two big, warm hugs and an enthusiastic, “I missed you!”. That’s what it’s like to be teammates with Elif and Ilayda Turgut.

“I love having the twins on the team! They bring so much positive energy and can always make us laugh,” teammate Carly Martin (‘21) said.

Standing at 5’9” and 6’2” respectively, Elif and Ilayda are sophomores on Palo Alto High School’s girls Varsity basketball team. To a stranger they may not look alike, but they are indeed fraternal twins. Both girls have been playing basketball for four years, two of which they played for Paly.

“My favorite part [of the team] is that the group of girls I play with are super close and we are always there for each other no matter what,” Elif said.

The amount of time the team spends together is tremendous. Every week consists of up to six two and a half hour practices, two or three of which are replaced with games during the regular season. This time allows for plenty of bonding, which creates very close relationships amongst the girls. The Turgut twins, however, spend all that time and more together since they see each other at home.

Living almost identical lives leaves room for competition, especially within basketball. Luckily for Elif and Ilayda, they play different positions. Elif plays a forward, and Ilayda plays a post, so there is no need to fight over playing time.

“I don’t really mind it. We don’t really deal with each other because we play different positions, although sometimes we do get really ticked off at each other,” Ilayda said.

Basketball is their number one hobby, but there are other activities the twins enjoy in their free time. Ilayda enjoys playing video games any

 time she gets a chance. Her favorite game at the moment is Overwatch.

“I am a gamer girl,” Ilayda said.

Elif on the other hand, likes to spend a lot of time with her friends. Since basketball takes up so much time she likes to relax, listen to music, watch Netflix and get all of her homework done when she can. She also has a hidden talent not many people know about.

“I can solve the rubix cube,” Elif said.

All in all, the Turgut twins have a bright future ahead of them. In their short time playing the sport, they have achieved so many accomplishments in basketball, including a league championship. They will continue on Paly’s varsity team for their junior and senior years, keeping up the hard work.

“Even though they are twins, they are two completely different people so I treat them as individuals. Ilayda drives me crazy sometimes but she cracks me and our team up, and Elif always brings intensity to practice,” coach Scott Peters said.