“When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us?”
For the Wert sisters, this quote has rang true for years on and off the basketball court. Shippensburg University seniors Dana and Shawna Wert have established themselves as consistent threats on the hardwood.
The Wert sisters should have that quintessential sibling rivalry going on, or so would think. But, that rivalry never left the backyard. Growing up, they always complemented one another athletically by combining to be a collective force. Never trying to outdo the other, the Werts grew up with a great sense of team unity and selflessness. Their father, Keith Wert was a huge influence in their athletics.
A former football standout for Franklin and Marshall University, their father still holds many records there and has educated his daughters to be very sports minded. He taught them all they know, and coached them in AAU ball, a summer league organization.
Having their father in their corner has been a blessing for the Werts, but they would not be where they are today without the love of their mother Jerri Wert also. Their mother might not fully understand basketball like her husband, but together the two have only missed a small handful of their daughters’ games in their entire playing career. “Dad is our No. 1 fan but mom is No. 2” the girls simultaneously said.
In high school, Shawna scored 1,000 points, with Dana not far behind. The two solidified the Washington Township frontcourt by leading their team to countless victories. Shawna might have been the scorer, but she benefitted from Dana dishing out the assists.
“If it wasn’t for me giving her the ball she wouldn’t have scored all those points.” Dana jokingly remarked. “If 1,000 assists would have been something, I probably would have had that, but no one keeps track of assists.”
With their athletic prowess on the basketball court, the Wert sisters were recruited by their hometown school, Georgian Court University in New Jersey. It was a good choice financially, but they never felt at home there. A slow-paced offense left the girls to deal mostly in the half court setup and they never felt comfortable. They had always liked SU, but after their freshman season, they finally had a reason to come.
At Washington Township, they were led by head coach Jenn Natale and assistant coach Jen Grassel. Grassel, an assistant coach at SU, had left the girls in high school to come here. The relationship the Werts had with Grassel made a reunion a reality. SU runs a faster pace offense, much like what Grassel helped run in high school. They felt at home here, and the great teammates and coaching staff gave the Werts what they wanted.
The pair have been honored by the PSAC since they came to SU, and continue to help the Raiders, with a 8-4 mark so far this year.
The Wert twins enjoy their time at SU, and since coming here they have loved it. Majoring in exercise science and minoring in coaching, the girls will be following similar paths upon graduation.
They said even though there is not a huge crowd at Heiges Field House, they still enjoy the older fans in attendance. With mostly family and friends rounding out the numbers, Dana has been in touch with Jordan Smith and the Red Sea who have done a tremendous job by supporting the Raiders in creating a student section.
You might get them confused, but there is no mistaking the great impact these two have made on the SU women’s basketball team, and throughout campus.