Tonight the Louisville Cardinals take on the UConn Huskies for the national title. During their superb run through the NCAA tournament, the Cardinal ladies, led by the sensational Schimmel sisters, have shocked and awed, slaying giants like Baylor and Tennessee. Now, it's Sho-Time in NOLA for the title: Smile. Score. Schimmel. And Indian Country Today Media Network will be in the Twitterverse to discuss it all during the game.
ICTMN correspondent Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) will again be leading the tweeting; join him to share your thoughts @IndianCountry (Twitter.com/indiancountry). The hashtag is #SchimmelChampionship.
Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 8:30 p.m./ET; ESPN will be televising the game, with ESPN3.com live streaming the action in the Big Easy (check Espn.com/watchespn for further details.).
First, though, is this sampling of news you can use to get ready.
Facts, Get Your Facts
Jamilah King and Jorge Rivas of Colorlines.com have a must-read piece today titled "6 Native American Basketball Facts, Inspired by Louisville's Star Sisters." "A single storyline about Native Americans and sports dominates general media coverage: The shameful and continued use of racist logos, mascots and gestures in professional football and baseball. Of course this remains an urgent issue. But the unexpected rise of Louisville’s women’s basketball team—and sister Cardinals Jude and Shoni Schimmel—in this year’s NCAA tournament provides a long-awaited chance to highlight another story." King and Rivas delve into Native Pride and spell out six fantastic facts about the role of basketball on Indian reservations. It's fun, and if you're not careful, you might just learn something. Read the article here.
Native Pride Illustrated
Everett Moore of Ok Traditions Design created this wonderful work, and we're pleased to share it. To learn more about OK Traditions Designs, visit their website OkTraditionsDesign.com and the Facebook page. Have a Schimmel-themed story, photo or piece of art you'd like to share? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible online publication.
It's Not Just a Popularity Contest. Winning Is Really Nice Too
What's This "Rez Ball" Everyone's Talking About?
The Associated Press presents "rez ball" today in a nice feature on the Schimmels–the term even made the headline. Ryneldi Becenti led off on the "free-wheeling style of basketball that she knows so well": “It’s funny,” said Becenti, Navajo, a former Arizona State star in the 1990s who played a season for the Phoenix Mercury and then professionally in Europe. “You can see the ‘rez ball’ in them. … She threw it behind the back, already knew where her sister was, and they don’t hesitate to do it.” Later the AP says, "[The] sisters left the comfort of the reservation, they did not leave behind the artistic style of play with which they felt comfortable … But the 'rez ball' comes out more when the sisters are on the court together.
“'It’s just magic when those two are on the court,' said Don Wetzel Jr., who operates the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. 'It’s tough to play rez ball when there’s just one of you.'"
Read the full article here.
The Shoni Schimmel Experience
Graham Hayes of espnW.com has an excellent look at the Schoni Schimmel experience in "Schimmel Embraces Leadership Role." "From the moment Shoni Schimmel arrived, Louisville was always going to follow her lead," Hayes writes. "She was too talented, too much a force of nature on a basketball court for things to unfold any other way."
It just wasn't clear whether that path would lead the Cardinals to a national championship game or out of the picture, like one of the junior's high-risk passes sailing past a befuddled teammate on its way toward the fourth row of seats."
"'Coming in, the coaches told me have your hands up at all times because you never know when she's going to pass the ball,' sophomore Sara Hammond recalled of her own indoctrination to the Schimmel experience. "'So my first practice, I had my hands up the whole time, and she threw a behind-the-head no-look pass to me and it went straight through my hands.'"
Read the full article, which also has videos, here.