Umatilla Schimmel Sisters Play on National Television Sunday – ESPNU

Both sisters are expected to start on Sunday’s nationally televised game
Both sisters are expected to start on Sunday’s nationally televised game

By Levi Rickert, December 27, 2013, Native News Online

LOUISVILLE — The pride of Indian country, Umatilla sisters Shoni and Jude Schimmel, will play on national television Sunday at 3:00 p.m. on ESPNU as their Louisville Cardinals women’s basketball team play SMU at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Cardinals have a 12-1 record this season and have a five-game win streak going. SMU has a 9-2 record. The two teams last met on November 29, 1996.

The two Umatilla sisters won the hearts of many in Indian country as the Louisville team advanced to the NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball title game in April. The Schimmel sisters are the only American Indians to ever play in a NCAA Division 1 basketball title game. They are tribal citizens of the Confederated Tribe of Umatilla Indians, based in Pendleton, Oregon.

Both sisters are slated to start for the Louisville Cardinals.

Shoni Schimmel, No. 23, is a 5-9 senior. Last Saturday, she led the Cardinals to victory over Colorado with a season high 30 points. She is averaging 16.1 points per game this season and is sharing the team lead in assists with her sister Jude at 4.2 per game.

Jude Schimmel, No. 22, is a 5-6 junior. She is a guard. In addition to her assists, Jude is averaging 7.5 points per game this season with 3.6 rebounds. She gained her first start earlier this year against Austin Peay. Jude dished out a career-high of 9 assists against Wright State.

The Cardinals will play in eight nationally televised games this second half of the season, so check your local listings for exact channel information.

Editor’s Note: contributed to this article.

Schimmel Showtime at Tulalip



Shoni and Jude made a stop in Tulalip for some ball time with their fans.

Ron Iukes, Tulalip’s Youth Services Specialist, preps the kids for the Schimmel’s arrival.
Photo by Monica Brown

By Monica Brown, Tulalip News writer


TULALIP, Wa- Sisters, Shoni and Jude Shimmel, who are known for bringing “rez ball” to college basketball courts, are touring Indian country this summer before they head back to the University of Louisville for fall quarter.  During their tour the duo planned a visit to Tulalip Reservation’s, Don Hatch Gym. Shoni and Jude came to meet their fans and motivate the Tulalip kids into dedicating more passion when playing basketball, or any sport in general.


Kids and fans alike packed the gym on Saturday August 17th to meet the famous Shimmel sisters and practice with them. Fans donned their Native pride shirts, with backs that read, “Shimmel Showtime”. A reference that recalls the memory of the “Shimmel Show”, a nationally televised game from this past year in which Louisville Cardinals beat the Tennessee Lady Vols 86 to 78, and the Schimmel sisters scored a combined 39 points throughout the game which was dubbed “Shimmel Show” by ESPN.


Schimmel Showtime event gave Tulalip youngsters to meet and learn from sisters Jude and Shoni, mom Ceci on far right.
Schimmel Showtime event gave Tulalip youngsters to meet and learn from sisters Jude and Shoni, mom Ceci on far right.

The Shimmel sisters have been named the “Umatilla Thrilla” because they come from the Umatilla Reservation in Pendleton, Oregon and demonstrate the “rez ball” technique in their play. Rez ball, not something you would normally see in use on professional courts, is a playing style where the players are more aggressive, they move at a fast, consistent tempo to complete quick scoring and maintain an assertive defense.

Shoni and her father Rick directed kids as they ran lines during the practice portion of the event.
Shoni and her father Rick directed kids as they ran lines during the practice portion of the event.
Photo by Monica Brown
Photo by Monica Brown
Kids were given tips from Shoni about how to improve their form as they practiced making baskets.
Kids were given tips from Shoni about how to improve their form as they practiced making baskets.
Photo by Monica Brown


Shoni and Jude Schimmel “It’s Time to Dance”

Published in Indian Gaming Magazine
By Steve Cadue May 2013

For two hours in early April, the largest draw at the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in northeastern Oregon wasn’t at a poker table but on a ballroom’s big screen. The casino, operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, sponsored a viewing party to watch two of the tribes own compete in the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship.

Playing for the University of Louisville, sisters Shoni and Jude Schimmel have become heroes to Native Americans and that native pride is resonating throughout not only their 2,800-member tribe but throughout Indian Country. Louisville’s remarkable run ended with a 93-60 heartbreaking loss to the University of Connecticut, but the sisters’ feat and their continued play will serve as an inspiration for generations in Indian Country.

“We are extremely proud of Shoni and Jude Schimmel and deeply appreciative of the recognition they have brought to our people,” said LesMinthorn, the Tribe’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The sisters’ love of the game is evident when their playing in a national championship game or in a pick up game at home which can include anyone from their four-year-old brother to their mother and father. “On any given day, I think we’re just ready to play ball,” said Shoni, a 5’9” junior guard. “That’s our competitive nature in us. We just want to go out there and win. We just want to have fun and compete.”

Basketball runs in the Schimmel family’s blood. The sisters’ father, Rick, played for one year at Stanford University and their mother, Ceci, a high school basketball coach played ball for Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. The sisters began playing ball at around four years old in a co-ed basketball tournament for four-to-six year old players. Pushed in particular by their older brother, Shae, the sisters continued to improve their game and were later the subject of a documentary, “Off the Rez” that featured the Schimmel family leaving the reservation in pursuit of more opportunities for the family.

During her highly successful high school basketball career, Shoni opted to wait until after her senior year to choose a college. Unlike most highly sought after recruits, Shoni said she made the decision to wait because she wanted to enjoy being in high school. “I decided to go to the University of Louisville because – through the recruiting process – Coach (Jeff)Walz and staff stayed with me through the whole thing,” said Shoni describing the respect shown to her by Louisville. “They stayed with me and kept interest and didn’t give up on me.”

When Jude was ready to choose a college, she decided to follow her sister. “It’s really rare to get to play a Division I sport with your sister and I wanted to share the experience with her,” said Jude, a 5’6” sophomore guard.

In August 2011, the Louisville women’s basketball team visited the Umatilla Reservation on their way to Canada to play in a tournament. During the three-day visit, the team held a basketball clinic for youth and visited with tribal leaders. The team also visited the tribe’s Tamastslikt Cultural Institute for a tour of the museum and to learn tribal history and legends.

“Everyone wanted to see what the reservation was all about,” said Shoni noting that some teammates thought tribal members still lived in teepees. The trip was unifying for the team and for the sisters. “It was weird to have our immediate family and our basketball team family there,” Shoni said. “But it all came together. It was the best of both worlds.”

For both, the most remarkable moment in this year’s NCAA tournament run was the 82-81 defeat of the defending national champions Baylor Bears. Going in a 24-point underdog in a Sweet 16 match up, the charge was uphill for the fifth-seeded Louisville team. Late in the game, Shoni ran a fast break and defending the basket was 6’8” Britney Griner. Shoni drove the key, dribbled left and with her back to Griner and the hoop – she popped a shot off the glass for two. The shot exemplifies the next level game. Griner didn’t know what happened and she would have to review the film to see what would be the most exciting play of the tournament.

“We worked as a team and it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment,” Shoni said. “It was very special to all of us and it was amazing to feel like that.” Jude echoed her sister’s sentiments. “It was an incredible feeling and one of the biggest upsets in history,” Jude said.

The sisters’ credit their family for their success and for their strong connection to their tribe. As children, they dressed in traditional regalia handcrafted by their great grandmother and performed the Lord’s Prayer in sign language at local churches. The sisters’ younger family members continue to wear

the regalia as part of their family traditions. The sisters also credit much of their tribal knowledge to their grandmothers and father.

The pair used to dance when they were younger at tribal events such as the tribes’ Fourth of July powwow held at the Wildhorse Resort and Casino. However, the sisters’ college courses and basketball schedule may keep them from attending this year’s powwow.

Both do plan to one day possibly work for their tribe. First, each would like to be in the WNBA or play professionally overseas. However, Shoni, a communications major, and Jude, a sociology major, would like to eventually use their degrees to help Native people on the reservation.

“We both want to give back,” said Jude of returning to the reservation. Shoni also is considering the possibility of opening a restaurant that features traditional Native foods. “I want to make it known that we have our own foods too,” Shoni said. Holding on to their Native heritage is important for both. Jude said she is inspired to succeed by the Native Americans who helped pave the road for the sisters.

The Schimmel sisters will continue to do some paving of their own when the Louisville Cardinals return next year. And because of the Schimmel’s inspiring dedication, a watershed of Native American talented student athletes will begin to flow.

We thank the Creator.


Steve Cadue is Tribal Chairman of the Kickapoo Nation. He can be reached by email at

Schimmel Sisters, Angel Goodrich Win Prestigious NABI Honor

NABI will honor the Schimmel sisters this July

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Angel Goodrich, Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) alumnus who recently was selected by the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, only the second Native player to be drafted into the league, and Shoni and Jude Schimmel, the first Native Americans to play in an NCAA women’s basketball tournament championship game, were named the recipients of the 2013 Phil Homeratha Leadership Award. The award, named after the late Haskell Indian Nations University women’s basketball coach, Phil Homeratha, will be presented during the NABI Championship games taking place at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix on Sunday, July 21.

Since the inception of NABI in 2003, NABI has chosen an individual that is making a difference in the advancement of Native American athletes to receive the award.  “This year we chose to honor all three talented young ladies. Their achievements in the sport of basketball have been inspirational and will continue to inspire our Native American youth for years to come. It was an easy selection” says GinaMarie Scarpa, co-founder & chief executive officer of the NABI Foundation.

Rick Schimmel and Ceci Moses, parents of Shoni and Jude, are also scheduled to speak at the Educational Seminars held during NABI week, July 17-21. The seminars are organized during NABI to bring positive messages that inspire the athletes participating in the NABI tournament. Previous speakers have included: football and baseball great Bo Jackson, legendary LSU coach Dale Brown and Fox Sports reporter Jude LaCava.

This year’s tournament is expecting 128 teams, the largest NABI tournament to date. A Maori team from New Zealand will even be making the trip to compete. Games start on July 18  in 10 Phoenix area gyms with the championship games being played immediately following the Phoenix Mercury WNBA game on Sunday, July 21.  People wishing to purchase NABI championship game tickets (copy0 each) will be allowed entrance into both the Mercury game and NABI championship games.  All proceeds to benefit the nonprofit NABI Foundation.

NABI, co-founded by Mark West of the Phoenix Suns, the late sports promoter Scott Podleski and Scarpa, started out as a small local tournament in 2003 and since has become a youth nonprofit organizing one of the largest all Native American tournaments; bringing exposure to thousands high school athletes from all over North America.

NABI tournament sponsors include: Ak-Chin Indian Community, Nike N7, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Diamondbacks, Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe, NIGA, and NCAIED.

For more information about the NABI Invitational and the NABI Foundation, go to to the NABI official website or e-mail

Related story:

Maori Squad Among 128 Competing at 2013 NABI Basketball Tournament


Anything You Can Do We Can Do Better! Schimmel Sisters and Louisville Women Out to Win National Title TONIGHT

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network, April 9, 2013

ESPNSister Act: Jude, left, and Shoni Schimmel are ready for Uconn.
Sister Act: Jude, left, and Shoni Schimmel are ready for UConn.

The ball’s in your court, Lady Cardinals. Oh, it’s Sho-Time.

Last night the University of Louisville men’s team won the national championship, 82-76, over the Michigan Wolverines. Tonight, the Louisville ladies take their turn, meeting mighty UConn in New Orleans for the 2013 national title (8:30 p.m./ET, on ESPN). Only one other NCAA Division I school has won both the men’s and women’s national titles in the same year: UConn, in 2009. Coincidence? It’s cetainly added motivation.

The dynamite Cardinals, who are on an uprecedented run through the women’s tourney, came to the Big Dance as a middle-of-the-pack squad with explosive potential, but riddled with injuries. After taking care of business their first two games against Middle Tennessee State and Purdue, the Cards elminated the prohibitive favorite to win it all, Baylor, in a shocking Oh So Sweet Sixteen upset. Many are calling that victory the greatest upset in the history of the tournament. And that earned them an Elite Eight match-up with the Tennessee Volunteers, the all-time leader with eight national championships. Shoot. Score. Schimmel. Cards win, Cards win. Off to the Final Four, where a seed as low as the No. 5 Cards had been only once before–and their predecessor, Missouri State, lost, in 2001.

But these are the Louisville Cardinals: No longer party crashers, they’re most definitely the life of the party. And New Orleans, home to the Final Four, really knows how to throw a party.

Sunday, the U of L overcame a daunting 10-point halftime deficit with a stunning second-half surge to knock out the Cal Bears. And tonight they play for the national title. Boom goes the dynamite.

Oh what a night ... Oh what a feeling! The Cards hope this is the scene--again-after another huge upset in the women's tourney tonight. (The Associated Press/Alonzo Adams )
Oh what a night … Oh what a feeling! The Cards hope this is the scene–again-after another huge upset in the women’s tourney tonight. (The Associated Press/Alonzo Adams )

If you look at history and the “facts” on paper, UConn should win this game tonight.

The UConn Lady Huskies are a powerhouse, a perennial title contender and have been since coach Geno Auriemma arrived in Storrs, Connecticut, in 1985. Auriemma has never lost a national title game while helming the Huskies–and he’s brought them to seven finals. Win it all this year, and UConn matches Tennessee’s NCAA record of most championships: eight.

Big East rivals, UConn has dominated Louisville, winning their last 12 meetings. In their most recent game on January 15, the Cards were beaten 72-58. Further, the Huskies have proven they can beat the Cards in a title game: They did so in 2009, Louisville’s only other title game appearance. Only one time in history has one school won both the men’s and women’s titles in the same season: Yes, UConn, in 2009. And UConn has also won a title in New Orleans before: in 2004. This year they have four legitimate stars: Breanna Stewart, Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis. Shutting down four dominant players is a lot different than shutting down one, like the Cards did versus Baylor–even if their best player, Brittney Griner, is All-Universe. Freshman phenom Stewart has scored 82 points in four 2013 tournament games. Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 19.5 points per game. Formidable.

But this is Cardinals basketball, 2013 NCAA tournament version. And they have the Schimmel sisters.

“We’re not done with what we’ve come out here to do and that’s win a national championship,” Shoni Schimmel said. “Why not go out with a bang?”

Oh, what a Big Bang that will be. It’s Sho-Time.

The Louisville Cardinals take on the UConn Huskies for the national title tonight at 8:30 p.m./ET. ESPN will televise the game, with livestreaming the action; go to for further details. Before the game, at 6 p.m./ET, Discovery Fit & Health will air Off the Rez, the acclaimed documentary about the Schimmels.  For more info, click here.

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