They attended middle school down the street from each other, led Fenwick to a state championship and enjoyed stellar careers at prestigious college programs.

Now Devereaux Peters and Tricia Liston are together again, this time at the highest level of women’s basketball. The Fenwick grads are currently in their second season as teammates on the Minnesota Lynx, which won the 2013 WNBA championship and currently sit atop the Western Conference standings with a 9-3 record.

While Peters, 25, and Liston, 23, always dreamed of playing professionally, neither envisioned two teammates from the same high school team playing together in the WNBA.

“It’s very rare,” Peters said. “There’s not a lot of people that can say that. A lot of college players, obviously, but from the same high school, it’s very rare so it’s pretty cool.”

Peters, an Oak Park native who attended Roosevelt Middle School, and Liston, a River Forest resident who came to Fenwick from St. Luke, were in town Friday for Minnesota’s game with the Chicago Sky at Allstate Arena.

Liston did not see any action but Peters had four points and six rebounds in 14 minutes during the Lynx’s 90-83 loss to the reigning Eastern Conference champions.

 “I had a lot of friends and family here,” Liston said. “I got to go home for a little bit yesterday so it’s always nice to come back here.”

Peters and Liston have yet to crack the starting lineup because Minnesota is one of the deepest teams in the league, featuring Olympians Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen. Playing time is a precious commodity.

Peters, a 6-2 forward in her fourth season out of Notre Dame, has played in all 11 games and averages 2.5 points in 14.5 minutes. She leads the team with 1.5 blocks per game and her 3.7 rebounding average is fourth.

Liston, a second-year 6-0 wing from Duke, has averaged 2.3 points and 10.6 minutes in nine games. She has shown great promise, hitting five three-pointers and scoring 17 points in an 85-80 win over New York on May 31 and 15 points in a 94-70 victory over Seattle on June 11, a game in which Peters added nine points.

“I use the word relentless (to describe) both of them,” Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “They’re really good at what they do.

“‘Dev’ is more defense and she’s long, gets deflections and rebounds. Trish is obviously the sniper, the three-baller. She shoots at a high clip. If you leave her open, she makes you pay.

“They both bring a lot to the table. They’re mentally sharp, they play at a high level and that makes our team better.”

They also make each other better and have reprised the roles they played on Fenwick’s 2007 state championship team. Peters never put up huge numbers but was the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year (an award Liston would win in 2010) because of her unselfish, defensive-oriented play, while Liston was a freshman shooter on a senior-laden squad.

“Tricia did all of the scoring on that team,” Peters said. “I was just kind of there, but she still does what she does. She’s a great scorer and she does what coach asks her to do.”

Peters was being modest, of course, regarding her role and that’s a quality prized by her coaches, who chose her with the third pick in the 2012 draft. She averaged 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds as a rookie.

“Dev contributes everywhere and that’s why we drafted her,” Reeve said. “We really felt like this team needed that. We have 3 Olympians and sometimes when you draft players that high, they come in thinking they’re going to be the best player and it doesn’t necessarily mesh well with the team and we thought Dev was a player that would carry on our way of doing things, which is everybody is selfless and (does) not care who gets the credit.”

As if she wasn’t humble enough, Peters has endured her share of adversity, including six surgeries on her left knee and a broken wrist. But she finally feels healthy.

“I had surgery in October and I took most of the off-season off,” Peters said. “I only played overseas for a month so I think that really helped me a lot in getting my body right, really give my knees a break and not have that constant pounding you normally have from playing year-round. It kind of gave me a refresher.”

If Liston, who taken with the 12th pick of the 2014 draft, needs any refreshers, she turns to Peters, who has eased her transition to the pros and the unfamiliar role of coming off the bench.

“It’s nice to be able to talk to someone who has gone through the same things that I have and who I have a history with,” Liston said. “She’s been around longer than I have so she knows the ins and outs of it.

“It’s been an experience. You’re not a competitor if you don’t want to be on the floor, so I understand that I was drafted to the defending champs. I’m still trying to earn that time on the floor and find my way and do whatever the team needs me to do to be successful.”

Reeve is confident Liston’s time will come.

“First and foremost, even having a job in this league is not easy to come by, so that in and of itself is an accomplishment,” Reeve said. “It’s an evolution. You’ve got to get better from Year 1 to Year 2 and she did.”

Like Peters, Liston prizes winning over personal stats, so she’d rather be a sub on a winning team than a starter on a losing squad.

“Yeah, for sure,” Liston said. “First of all, I have so many players here that I can learn from, but also I wouldn’t be happy on a losing team. I want to win and that’s what we do on this team, so I think I’m actually pretty lucky.”

Fenwick has been lucky to have had players like Peters and Liston, who led the Friars to third place in the state as a senior in 2010. But the program that has won 573 games under coach Dave Power also left its mark on them.

“When we were at Fenwick, Fenwick was a powerhouse with Coach Power and everything he’s done for women’s basketball,” Liston said. “I feel like going to Fenwick you knew that you could go somewhere after that in basketball because of how good we were known to be and also being able to come in there my freshman year with girls like Dev and other D1-caliber players was great.”

Peters said playing at Fenwick prepared her for any challenge.

“It also taught you how to play in different situations, especially in Tricia’s case because she came in and had all of us there and then we all left so she was kind of alone,” Peters said. “So she learned how to play with a whole bunch of other players as well as be able to take over and be the main scorer and do everything for the team.

“I feel like the situations we were in prepared us a lot for college, that we can play with anything. A lot of players have been the superstar their whole life and everything has been on their shoulders and they don’t know how to adapt to letting other players take over a little or play with other great players, but I think we got that early.”

Join the discussion on social media!

One reply on “Peters, Liston reunite in WNBA”