For Hodges and Cain sisters, family connection shows on the court

Siblings relish time together at Brandeis, whether it's inside or outside the Red Auerbach Arena.

Photo/Adam Levin

Left to right: Noël Hodges, Heather Cain, Paris Hodges, Hannah Cain

The Brandeis women’s basketball team is a fairly tight-knit group. Some might even assume they are close enough to be sisters.
And, in the case of four players, they would be correct.
Hannah Cain ‘ 15 and her sister Heather ’16 and Paris Hodges ’17 and her sister Noël ’18 are all teammates on the Judges squad, which just won the ECAC championship for the first time since 2005 by beating Westfield State University, 75-65 in overtime.
Competing for playing time is natural for all players on all teams, but the sisters say they are focused on supporting each other and their teammates.
“We’re all each other’s biggest fans,” says Heather, a business and health, science, social policy double major from Gloucester, Massachusetts. “And we love going on the court together. We’re like ‘let’s go, let’s bring it!’”
Judges head coach Carol Simon, who is the only coach in the University Athletic Association with two sets of sisters on her team, commonly puts most or all of the siblings on the court at the same time for a different, dynamic dimension.
“The team loves it, they treat them as individuals, not like it’s ‘the Cain sisters’ or it’s ‘the Hodges,’” says Simon, who now has three ECAC titles. “It’s Hannah, Heather, Paris and Noël. But having their dynamic does enhance a family-like atmosphere.”
“Both sets of sisters are so close,” Simon adds. “They feed each other on and off the court. I actually started subbing that way, trying to put sisters on together, because they play so well with each other.”
Both sets of sisters grew up playing basketball, one sibling going one-on-one against the other and competing in three-point shooting drills. And as their sharpness in the game developed, so did each sister’s desire to play with their sibling. Noël followed Paris to Brandeis last spring, while Heather jumped at the chance to play basketball with Hannah, transferring from Trinity University her sophomore year. Now united, the years of practicing together, and the bonds of sisterhood, show on the court.
“You always know what your sister is thinking,” says Noël, who’s from Southampton, New York. “They don’t have to explicitly say what they’re going to do, you just know. For example, I like to pass. Say I’m going for a tricky pass, Paris knows I’m going to get it to her. She’s always there to catch the ball.”
While the sisters spend a lot time together on the court, they also enjoy being together on campus and in the classrooms.
“We’re always together,” says Paris. “Our team is a lot closer than other teams, I think. A lot of us are all in the same class or are studying the same thing and we all hang out together around campus and go visit each other’s dorms. Going to school at a top-ranked college and flying around the country and playing against of the teams is amazing.”

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