Morrow sisters bring basketball bond to DePaul

Growing up, sports were a way of life for Nazlah and Aneesah Morrow. 

Today, they still are. 

“Sports were kind of something we didn’t really have to think about,” senior forward Nazlah Morrow said. “It was all around us, and before we knew it, we were just drawn to it and it became a part of our life.” 

The sisters grew up in a sports-minded household, raised by a Division I linebacker in their father, Edward, and an all-conference forward for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in their mother, Nafeesah. 

“Seeing all of that made me feel like I want to be a part of this,” sophomore forward Aneesah Morrow said of her family’s athletic success. “It was a norm for us, and being around it all the time, you eventually fall in love with it.” 

Nafeesah coached a local high school basketball team when her daughters were growing up, so the majority of Aneesah and Nazlah’s childhoods were spent in a gym. 

“I would always be at all the practices just walking around as the curious little person with all the big clothes on,” Aneesah said. “I was just curious about basketball overall because I was surrounded by it my whole life.” 

When the time came for Aneesah to decide where she wanted to continue her athletic career post high school, she was influenced by her love for the city she calls home. 

“A lot of star athletes leave their city or their state to go play somewhere else, and I wanted to be different,” Aneesah said. “I wanted to make a change and be able to stay in my city and win big games.” 

Nazlah announced her decision to transfer to DePaul after graduating from Miami Dade Junior College in 2020. 

“I kind of wanted to be closer to home,” Nazlah said of her decision to transfer. “And I kind of loved the team chemistry, so it kind of worked out like that and we came back together.” 

Unfortunately, she spent her junior year for the Blue Demons sidelined with an injury. 

“I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to deal with a serious injury before, so last year was kind of tough for me,” Nazlah said. “I learned that pushing through mental things is just as hard as pushing yourself physically. It was hard, but it was very beneficial.” 

Aneesah had a standout freshman season at DePaul, setting records and collecting accolades of all kinds including being named ESPN’s Top Freshman in the Country and to the Associated Press All-American Second Team. 

This season, she’s looking to build upon that success. 

“I feel like you have to stay ready so you never have to get ready,” Aneesah said of her mindset going into this season. “I know that if I come up here and compete against my teammates on a daily basis, then I can do it against any team or any player.” 

Aneesah, who was named Big East Freshman of the Week a record 13 times last season, led the nations in rebounds and was one of the most dominant players in the league. 

“All that Aneesah accomplished as a freshman was because she came to practice everyday, she worked hard and she competed hard,” head coach Doug Bruno said. “She’s a naturally and instinctively competitive player. Coaches throw the word competitive around a lot, but Aneesah has a level of competitiveness that is just off the charts, and that’s really what separates her. She’s been a joy to coach and a joy to be around.”

Both Nazlah and Aneesah’s dedicated personalities as athletes and people allows them to succeed on and off the court. 

“They have great roots and a great upbringing,” coach Bruno said. “They are on time, they take care of each other, and they’re great teammates.” 

This season, the two sisters will return to the court on the same team for the first time since 2019, when they led Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy to a second place finish in the IHSA State Series. 

“I think as we’ve gone on to play basketball together, we kind of knew that we could hold this healthy competition between the two of us and challenge each other in ways that other teammates couldn’t,” Nazlah said. “Because we play against each other so much, it forces us out of our comfort zone to try new skills against each other.” 

The Morrow sisters are hopeful that their competitiveness will translate to success on the basketball court this winter. 

“I think we have a great team, and I’m looking forward to winning with our team,” Nazlah said. “Everybody is hungry, everybody loves to play, and everybody loves to compete. It’s really great to be a part of a team like that.”

Last year, the Blue Demons boasted an overall record of 22-11 and finished fourth in the Big East, but their postseason run left something to be desired. 

“This season, I’m looking forward to going further in the tournament,” Aneesah said. “Last year we had a good year, but I want to play against the best and be in the final for the championship game. Overall, I feel like our team is just molding. We have a lot of newcomers and it takes time to create that chemistry.” 

Nazlah and Aneesah’s unique chemistry as both sisters and basketball players will look to make an impact on the Blue Demons this season. 

“Sisters do have a sixth sense,” Bruno said. “There’s no question about that.”