Andy Landers, the coach of Georgia's women's basketball team, was watching his starting guards, Coco and Kelly Miller, practice in Stegeman Coliseum in 1997. Striding downcourt side by side in identical red uniforms, wearing identical white knee pads and sporting identical brown ponytails, the identical twins looked, as usual, like matched thoroughbreds. They were stationed perhaps 50 feet apart when Landers heard one mumble to the other in a language only they could understand. He recalls Kelly (or was that Coco?) whispering, "Babadep shalaka glibbidyglob." He recalls Coco (or was it Kelly?), without so much as a sidelong glance, whispering back something like, "Shalalal billabilla glibbidyglub." Then one sister sprinted to the hoop while the other flicked a perfect no-look pass to her.
"It was almost telepathic," says Landers, who still recalls the fleeting feeling of vertigo he experienced. "No actual words were spoken, no signals exchanged. Kelly and Coco have been playing together for so long that they can sense each other's presence on the floor. They've trained themselves to communicate in ways the rest of us can't."
Lady Bulldogs opponents have been seeing double and hearing double-talk for two seasons now. In their freshman year the Millers averaged 33.5 points between them as Georgia won 17 games. Kelly led the Lady Bulldogs in assists, steals and scoring while Coco set the school single-game women's record with 45 points against Charleston Southern. "Separately they'd light a fire under us; together they'd set us ablaze," says sophomore teammate Tawana McDonald. "With five minutes to play they'd still be playing like it's the opening tip: diving, sliding and picking up the intensity."
That intensity carried Georgia to a 27-7 record and a Final Four berth last season, and now the 5'10" Millers are being touted as a pair without peer, the most synchronized backcourt in NCAA history. At times Kelly and Coco seem to be halves of a single personality. They wear similar clothes, smile the same half-smile and, with the exception of a renegade freckle here and there, look exactly alike. They even share the same idiosyncrasies. On team pilgrimages to IHOP the sisters invariably drown their stacks of buttermilk pancakes in strawberry and blueberry syrup. "If one raises her fork, the other will too," says teammate Camille Murphy. "And that's not even the cool part. I've seen them eat Froot Loops, and without thinking about it, each of them leaves two loops floating in her bowl. I'm like, Man!, how'd they do that?"
There is a profound difference between them. "My favorite color is red," volunteers Kelly.
"Mine's blue," says Coco.
"That's the difference," they chorus.
In conversation Kelly and Coco often finish each other's sentences and answer questions simultaneously, the words of one coming a beat late, sounding like stereo speakers slightly out of sync. "When we're talking to each other we...," says Kelly.
"...only need a few words," says Coco.
"We don't have to speak in sentences..."