WNBA all-star Shoni Schimmel returns to sellout crowd

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Saturday, July 18, Seattle’s KeyArena was home to the WNBA’s Seattle Storm second annual ‘Native American Heritage Night’, as the Storm hosted the Atlanta Dream and their Native all-star guard Shoni Schimmel. For the second straight year, KeyArena reported a sellout crowd of 9,686 fans against the Atlanta Dream thanks in large part to the growing popularity of Schimmel to urban tribal youth. The sellout crowd was made up primarily of Native American tribes from all over the Pacific Northwest who journeyed to Seattle to root for Schimmel. In fact, every time Shoni “Sho-Time” Schimmel came into the game or had her name announced, the crowd went wild with excitement and joy.

Schimmel, a 5-foot-9 guard, is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and was raised on the reservation just outside Pendleton, Oregon. Many fans in the building wore her image on t-shirts and waved homemade signs celebrating Schimmel. The fan base even helped vote her to next week’s All-Star Game as a starter, but Schimmel is far from the player who last year became the first rookie to win the game’s MVP honor.

Schimmel’s popularity among Native Americans has made her one of the more recognizable names in the WNBA, and nowhere is her popularity on greater display than in her annual trip to Seattle. Fans from as far away as the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana made the journey to Seattle just to watch her play.

 

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

Prior to the game, Schimmel spoke on the tremendous outpouring of support she receives on the west coast.

“It’s a bunch of support out there, especially in Seattle. There’s a lot of people coming out there because it’s the closest to home I get to play. My whole family has traveled to Seattle to watch me play, it’s going to be special for me.”

The Tulalip Youth Services department seized the opportunity of ‘Native American Heritage Night’ to provide a fun and exciting activity for our tribal youth. Over one hundred tickets were purchased and given to youth who showed on Saturday afternoon at the Don Hatch Teen Center, where they were then transported via shuttle bus to Seattle’s Key Arena.

According to Shawn Sanchey, Youth Services Activity Specialist, the youth were abuzz all week about the chance to see Shoni play in person.

“The kids all know who Shoni is and the excitement was building all week leading up to the game. A lot of it has to do with her being Native and growing up on a reservation. It helps a lot for the kids to see someone with a similar background succeed on the professional level, she inspires them. They really like her and look up to her,” said Sanchey.

 

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

The Storm got off to a scorching start, outscoring the Dream 27-16 in the first quarter. By halftime, the Storm had torched the befuddled Dream for 48 first-half points and took a 48-33 lead to the locker room. All those Shoni fans in attendance were given a very lackluster 1st half performance, as she hadn’t even attempted a field goal.

In keeping with the Native theme of the night, the Storm provided a half-time entertainment consisting of pow-wow dancers and drummers from the Chief Seattle Club, Young Society, and Northwest Tribal Dancers.

After Seattle went ahead by 19 points to start the 4th quarter, Schimmel, who had been held scoreless to that point, finally got in rhythm and displayed why she’s called “Sho-Time”. She recorded all eight of points, two of her three rebounds, and one monstrous block that sent the crowd into a short frenzy during the final quarter. The biggest cheer was when she hit her first 3-pointer with 3:59 left in the game. Her late game efforts come up short though, as the Storm would go onto claim victory after scoring a season high 86 points.

Following the game, many of the fans who came to see Shoni remained in their seats after it was announced she would be addressing the crowd and signing autographs. In her post-game interview, Schimmel took to the mic to talk to the all-Native crowd and thanked them for their support. She was asked about the hundreds of young Native American girls in the stand who idolize her and what message she wanted to send to them.

“I never thought I would be in the WNBA, but here I am. Follow your dreams! Look at me now, this little Native girl from Oregon playing professional basketball.”

Schimmel_2

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

 

Atlanta Dream guard Shoni Schimmel receives 2014 Native American ’40 under 40′ award

 

Atlanta Dream's Shoni Schimmel, right, and Seattle Storm's Camille Little reach for a loose ball during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Friday, May 30, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal Constitution, Brant Sanderlin) GWINNETT OUT MARIETTA OUT LOCAL TV OUT (WXIA, WGCL, FOX 5)

Atlanta Dream’s Shoni Schimmel, right, and Seattle Storm’s Camille Little reach for a loose ball during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Friday, May 30, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal Constitution, Brant Sanderlin) GWINNETT OUT MARIETTA OUT LOCAL TV OUT (WXIA, WGCL, FOX 5)

By Erik C. Anderson, The Oregonian

Oregon native and Atlanta Dream guard Shoni Schimmel has been named a 2014 Native American “40 under 40” award recipient, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development announced in a press release.

The award is given to people under the age of 40 who have been nominated by “members of their communities for showing initiative and dedication to providing significant, positive contributions to business or in their respective communities.”

Schimmel was named the MVP of the WNBA All-Star Game during the past season, and had the highest selling jersey in the league. She grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon.

Below is the full release:

MILWAUKEE, WI – Emerging Native American leaders from across the country will be honored for their outstanding leadership during the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s upcoming Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The “Native American 40 under 40” is a prestigious award that is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities, for showing initiative and dedication to providing significant, positive contributions to business or in their respective communities. Shoni Schimmel, a Pendleton, OR resident and member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, is among the 2014 award winners to be honored during a gala at the leading Native American business event in the country, taking place at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee.

“The 40 under 40 award showcases the accomplishments of both current and future Native American leaders,” said Gary Davis, President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. “The future of Indian country will be shaped by exceptional leaders such as Shoni who have proven their unrelenting dedication to enhancing the lives of those around them. It is truly an honor to bestow this award on such a deserving group of young leaders.”

Shoni Schimmel currently plays point guard in the WNBA for the Atlanta Dream. Schimmel was the first rookie to be named MVP of the WNBA All-Star game, and set the record for most points in an All-Star game with 29. Schimmel, who grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, is the highest drafted Native American woman in WNBA history. Schimmel graduated from the University of Louisville, where she was named an All-American and led the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA Championship game.

Award winners will be officially honored during the 39th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards (INPRO) Gala, which will take place during RES Wisconsin on Wednesday, October 8th. For more information about Reservation Economic Summit, please visit http://res.ncaied.org.

The Dream at Work: Shoni Schimmel Helps Welcome Special Guests to AT

 

On May 30, the Atlanta Dream kicked off its new initiative Heritage Fridays and celebrated Native American Night in honor of Shoni Schimmel.

The rookie guard, Umatilla, told ICTMN that she really appreciated the showing of support and called Friday’s event “Awesome.”

Native supporters filled an entire section of the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, and fans wore blue T-shirts donning Schimmel’s name and number, 23. And the first 2,000 fans received a turquoise Shoni Schimmel wristband.

“We are proud of the cultural diversity of our team and we look forward to celebrating that this season and beyond,” Dream President and General Manager Angela Taylor told WNBA.com.

RELATED Video: Shoni Schimmel’s Rookie Blog With the Atlanta Dream

Atlanta snapped a two-game losing bump with an 80-69 win over the Seattle Storm to improve to 3-2 overall, the team’s post game notes said. The Dream is now 2-1 in home games, and has won 20 of its last 25 regular-season games at Philips Arena.

Schimmel managed one assist for the night, but she’s averaging 9.3 points per game. Her season total of 38 points is tied for the most in WNBA history for a player in her first five career games, WNBA.com said.

At halftime, the Red Road and Elks Soldiers performed and Schimmel energized the crowd by taking a few photos with her biggest supporters and fans.

After the game, Schimmel revealed to ICTMN that when she’s not on the court, she manages her own blog, whcih you can read here. On her blog, Schimmel posted a photo of Native American Night. She’s posing with a crowd of fans, dancers, and WNBA staff.

“It was great getting to see the fans come out and support!! She wrote. “Thank you all for coming, and see you next time!!”

 

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/gallery/photo/dream-work-shoni-schimmel-helps-welcome-special-guests-atl-155193