In a feature in today's New York Times, sports reporter and best-selling author Jeré Longman writes about the Schimmel sisters and their rise to stardom. You can read the full feature by clicking here.
"Although basketball has long been the most popular sport on Indian reservations, seldom has that esteem translated into great performance in the highest college and professional ranks," Longman writes. "An N.C.A.A. study indicated that during the 2011-12 academic year, only 21 women and 4 men identified as American Indian/Alaska Native participated among the 10,151 basketball players at the Division I level."
That makes the Cardinals' sister act even more special.
“It’s a very rare position they’re in to excel at this level,” Longman was told by Ryneldi Becenti, Navajo, a star at Arizona State in the 1990s who is the only female basketball player inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. “I don’t think I’ve heard of any Native American women getting to the Final Four, especially being the biggest part of the team.”
Shoni Schimmel tells Longman that she's proud of her heritage and that if you believe in yourself, there's nothing you can't do. And people feed of of that positive energy. The next generation of young women on reservations across the U.S. have the Schimmel sisters as inspirational role models.
“It’s a blessing to show other people you can make it; coming off a reservation, you can do whatever you want,” Shoni told Longman “You’ve got to set your mind to it and believe in yourself. It’s indescribable how I feel that they’re following me and supporting me.”
For more, go to The New York Times and read "Far From Reservation, Sisters Offer Inspiration."
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 at @IndianCountry. The hashtag is #SchimmelFinalFour
Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m./ET; ESPN will be televising the action, while ESPN3.com will be carrying it online. Check your local listings to confirm, as well as Espn.com/watchespn.
Tweet ya Sunday!