''No one wanted to see us beat Baylor and Tennessee and we did both of those, and now we're going to the Final Four,'' Shoni Schimmel said. Although she wasn't smiling at that moment, a rarity, she and sister Jude have had plenty to smile about during this amazing run to the Final Four.
''Seeing a lot of the underdog things like [film of NC State's 1983 national title run under coach Jimmy Valvano], it just motivated us even more to believe in each other and believe in ourselves,'' said Schimmel's younger sister, Jude, who scored 15 points against Tennessee in the Cardinals upset win in the Elite Eight. Scoring, that's another thing the Schimmel sisters do a lot of.
Smile. Score. Schimmel … Success.
Here's a quick round-up of what's being said about the Schimmel sisters as they prep for tomorrow night's game in New Orleans against the Cal Bears, Final Four rookies (U of L earned a spot in the 2009 semifinals).
A Women's Team Named David
Jake Simpson of The Atlantic looks at the success of Louisville's men's and women's teams, both of whom have reached the Final Four, only the 10th time that's happened in tournament history. Only one school, UConn in 2004, has won both titles in the same year. In "The Most Fascinating School in the Final 4 is Both David and Goliath," Simpson writes, "How did the Cardinals put themselves in position to match history? That's the best part of the story. The men's team is Goliath; the women's team slayed Goliath." Read the full article here.
NCAA Coaches in Notes to Selves: "Recruit Rez Ballers"
Players such as the Schimmels, who come from an unlikely hoops hotbed. "Man, I gotta find my way to that spot, wherever it is,"UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma said, reports USA Today Sports' Kelly Whiteside. " I don't know if you have to take a helicopter in there or you need guides or something to get in there, but I told Jeff Walz I gotta get a couple of those players for myself."
Don't Let Cal Coach Gottlieb Promote Your Fight
USA Today's Whiteside also has Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb calling the match-up with Louisville the "undercard" of the Final Four. "There's no question UConn and Notre Dame are the heavy hitters," Gottlieb said, adding that she felt it was good for the game to have teams like Louisville and Cal in the mix. "It just puts different players in programs on the national radar. And I think it speaks that there is a growing depth of talent across the country."
Bulletin Board Material?
NorcalNick of CaliforniaGoldenBlogs.com provides a scouting report for the Cal Golden Bears on: Shoni Schimmel, 5'9'' junior guard: If you watched Schimmel running around the court like a demon against Baylor and Tennessee, jacking up threes and throwing in backwards layups, you might be a little disheartened. The question is if Cal will face post-season world-beater Shoni Schimmel, or regular-season high-volume inefficient shooter Shoni Schimmel. She shoots under 40% on the year and averages more than three turnovers a game, so it's hardly fait accompli that she will score 20+ points in another Louisville offensive explosion. It's Cal's job (and, I'm guessing, Layshia's job?) to prevent that from happening.
I want Brittany Boyd to pick her pocket, beat her down the court for an and-1 layup, and then draw the technical foul on Schimmel when she inevitable starts jawing. I'm not asking for too much, am I?
And then on: Jude Schimmel, 5'6'' sophomore guard: She's like Shoni except she takes significantly fewer shots. But she's a solid shooter and a decent point guard when/if Shoni isn't dominating the ball.
The Final Four. The Big Easy. Louisville-Cal. The Schimmel Show. The Umatilla Thrilla. Game on!
Come join Indian Country Today Media Network in the Twitterverse Sunday evening during the Louisville Cardinals-Cal Bears NCAA women's basketball national semifinal game. ICTMN correspondent Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) will be leading the discussion @IndianCountry (Twitter.com/indiancountry). The hashtag is #SchimmelFinalFour.
Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m./ET; ESPN will be televising the action, while ESPN3 will be carrying it online. Check your local listings to confirm, as well as Espn.com/watchespn.
Tweet ya Sunday!