Sports Women's Sports

Tenacious Twin Talents: Mia and Mya Pauldo are a force for Morris Catholic

By Garrett Cote

Mya Pauldo is a floor general. There’s no better way to describe her. She sets her teammates up with pinpoint passes, controls the tempo of each possession with ease and lets the game come to her.

Her twin sister Mia, who is older by one minute, is ranked No. 8 in the 2025 espnW Terrific 25, and her game is undeniably built for the spotlight. She makes the highlight plays, possesses an unmatched swagger and oozes confidence with every dribble.

They both make basketball look effortless.

Although they carry themselves much older, the Pauldo sisters are only sophomores at Morris Catholic High School (NJ). Despite the polar-opposite playstyles, their games complement each other to perfection – and they combined for 31 points in last year’s New Jersey state championship game victory.

“I’m always looking for our players, I wanna create a play for them,” Mya said. “Mia’s one of our main scorers, so I definitely have to look for my sister and give her the ball. We complement each other because we can also switch positions. She can play point guard and look for me as well. We’re two point guards that really don’t turn the ball over.”

Growing up, Mia and Mya were simply miles ahead of the girls their age in the peewee circuit, so they started competing against boys.

The Pauldo twins dominated them, too. 

In response, they moved up to play girls several years older than them – which ultimately prepared them for competitive games later on in their careers.

“They used to be like, ‘Who are these girls, yo?’” Mia recalled about playing against boys. “Everybody thought we were tough because we were small and beating these boys. And because we’re small and crossing over and scoring all the time.”

It became evident to DJ Pauldo -Mia and Mya’s father-that basketball was what his daughters were born to do. So when they were seven, he sacrificed the family’s garage in Paterson, N.J., to build a full-sized basketball court next to their house. It had to be done; the garage was collateral damage in DJ’s master plan.

“We fell in love with the sport really young because we was around it our whole lives,” Mia said. “It was really important because we was out there every day in the summer. We would always be out there getting shots up, developing our handles. My dad used to coach (NBA players) Kyle Anderson and JR Smith. All of them used to come to the house and play with us and hang with us.”

“They’re big bros to us,” Mya added.

If it hadn’t already been well worth it before then, DJ’s decision to knock down the garage for a basketball court paid off in September when Mia and Mya each signed Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) sponsorship deals with Puma. What started on those hoops in Paterson now has Puma on board the twins’ train that’s chugging full steam ahead.

Puma’s stable of athletes already included stars like LaMelo Ball, Breanna Stewart, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Mikey Williams. To have their names mentioned in the same conversation as some of today’s biggest athletes is an indescribable feeling.

“We started to understand what this was really about, and now our name is in that group of people. It’s amazing,” Mya said. 

As they took the court at Springfield College’s Blake Arena for Morris Catholic’s game at the 2023 Spalding Hoophall Classic on Friday afternoon, it was officially Mia and Mya’s first time playing at the birthplace of basketball. The two had attended the Hoophall Classic before, as spectators to watch their dad coach. 

Mia took full advantage of the opportunity, dropping a game-high 21 points in Morris Catholic’s 54-44 loss against St. Paul VI Catholic High School.

Mya, on the other hand, struggled to get things going. She scored only two points while grabbing four rebounds and adding three assists. Knowing this might not be the last time they play at Springfield College, Mya is determined to get back and show what she’s truly capable of.

“I wish I played a little better today, but I hope I get another chance to come back and show everybody what I can really do,” Mya said.

Morris Catholic head coach Billy Lovett is the perfect person to lead these basketball prodigies. Lovett played and coached under one of the game’s greatest coaches, Bob Hurley Sr., at the now-closed St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, N.J. Hurley Sr. is well-known for his strict and rigorous coaching style – he treated every player the same no matter the talent they had. 

Because Lovett witnessed Hurley Sr.’s tactics front and center, he can implement a similar style with Mia and Mya to keep them hungry and humble.

“We try to make sure they’re reeled in. They do a great job of finding teammates and getting them open shots, it’s never about them, always the team,” Lovett said. “They’re well-rounded basketball players, but they’re even better kids.”

Considering Mia and Mya have been by each other’s side since coming into the world, they’ll be faced with a difficult and important life-altering decision: where they want to attend college. The two have offers from Rutgers, Mississippi State, Baylor, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Miami among many, many others. Yes, they’re only sophomores, but this choice is waiting for them around the corner. 

Do they stick with what’s worked for them their entire lives – playing alongside one another – or do they go their separate ways? To them, there’s no debate.

“We’re trying to dominate together, no question about it,” Mia said.

The Pauldo Twins are taking over the high school basketball landscape, and they’re doing so in their own way. Mia and Mya are social media contributors (11.2K followers on Instagram and over 3K on TikTok) and they have already scored deals to become Ambassadors of Puma as sophomores in high school.

There is certainly no limit to what these young stars can do. But one thing’s for sure, they’re enjoying every step side-by-side.

“It’s really special [to have my sister with me],” Mya said. “Usually people are on their own for this type of journey, they don’t have no one to back them up or help them when they’re going through it mentally. We have each other to pick each other up on and off the court.”

Mia added: “To have someone else push us to our fullest potential, it’s nice to have. And having that with us together, that’s unstoppable.”

Photo: Nico Fiscella/The Student

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