Twin Power: FDU’s Star Sisters

Twin sisters and basketball stars Kyra and Kara Dayon are lighting up the court at Farleigh Dickinson University.

Double Down: Kara, left, and Kyra Dayon teamed up to bring a national championship to FDU.
Photo by Art Petrosemolo

Marc Mitchell took over as coach of the women’s basketball team at Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham in 2009. He could be forgiven if he set his sights a little low. Over the team’s 29 seasons, it had never won a conference championship and had more losing seasons than winning. In his first two years, the team went 20-30.

Then Mitchell and assistant coach Jessica Cavaco went to a high-school showcase at the other Fairleigh Dickinson campus in Teaneck. Each watched a different game. Comparing notes, they found the players they liked best in their respective games were, of all things, twin sisters: Kyra and Kara Dayon from Trenton Central High School.

“The first question I asked was whether they would like to play together,” says Mitchell. “They said yes and hugged each other. I wanted to hug them, too.”

Mitchell recruited three other Trenton Central teammates of the Dayons to come to FDU-Florham—Quaneshia Harris, Robin Peoples and Kamryn Thompson. Overnight, the picture brightened. The team went 13-13 their freshman year; then 24-4, winning the conference championship in 2012-13. Last season, with the addition of several more strong players, the group went 33-0 and won the national Division III championship.

Kyra Dayon, a 5-8 forward, averaged 14.2 points per game during the season and was named MVP of the conference Final Four. Kara, her identical twin, a 5-7 guard, averaged 9.1 points and was one of the team’s top three-point shooters.

Basketball was a family affair when the twins started playing in fifth grade. Their older sisters, Cora and Coral, also identical twins, were playing high-school ball, and their older brother, Clifford Williams, now the assistant principal at Lawrence High School, was an assistant coach for girls basketball at Trenton Central.

The girls are best friends and roommates; both are studying computer science, looking forward to careers in information technology. “It’s all been exciting, and to have my sister to fall back on when I have a bad day is comforting,” says Kyra, all of a minute older, but the family spokeswoman. “We look for each other on and off the court. It’s been so gratifying.”

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