April 12, 2013

Schimmel sisters inspire Native girls

A Tough End to a Brilliant Season: Louisville and the Schimmel Sisters Fall to UConn in National Title GameDespite a quick start, the Louisville women were defeated last night in the 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship Final by perennial powerhouse UConn, 93-60. The game was contested in New Orleans, and the victory gives the Huskies an eighth title, tying them with the Tennessee Lady Volunteers for most all-time.

After the Cardinals built a 14-10 lead with just under 14 minutes to play in the first half, the offensive juggernaut that is UConn went on a tear, running off 19 unanswered points. The teams headed to their locker rooms at halftime with the Lady Huskies leading by a wide 48-29 margin.

The feisty Cards made a spirited effort in the second half, but the lead was too much. UConn was too much. "The gutsy No. 5 seed Cardinals at last ran into a giant they couldn't topple," notes espnW's Mechelle Voepel.

UConn's freshman phenom Breanna Stewart was unstoppable and named the game's MVP. She finished with 23 points--18 in the first half--and nine rebounds. And UConn made 13 three-pointers, a championship game record, doing to Louisville what the Cardinals had done to Baylor.

The loss ended an unprecedented tournament run by Louisville. The Cardinals became the first No. 5 seed to make the championship game, pulling off one of the greatest--if not the greatest--upsets in tournament history when they beat Brittney Griner and Baylor in the regional semifinals.

Hoop Dreams: Schimmel Sisters Inspiring Girls on the Rez

By Mary Kim Titla“I heard about them from the kids and teachers at school,” said Mariah Kozie, 15, about the Schimmel sisters, Shoni and Jude, who led fifth-seeded Louisville on an unprecedented run to the 2013 NCAA women’s championship game, played April 9.

Kozie watched the game Tuesday night with her 10-year-old sister Tana at their grandmother’s home on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

“It’s good that they’re playing. They’re like our role models,” said Aaliyah Haozous, 11, who lives a few miles away. Haozous watched the game with her nine-year-old sister Ariel.

“They’re like us (playing rez ball). They play like boys,” said Dana Dosela, 17, who watched the game in another part of the Apache reservation.

The Kozie and Haozous girls and Dosela all have hoop dreams. They say watching the Schimmel sisters has given them hope.

“If they can do it, anybody can do it,” said Dosela. “It makes me want to be like them. They never give up,” said Kozie.
Shoni and Jude Schimmel are Examples of What is Right about Indian Country

By Levi RickertA group of American Indian musicians who are on the "All My Relations" tour this week stopped by a McDonald's in Montana so that one could turn on her laptop and they could watch Tuesday night's NCAA Women's Basketball National Championship game ESPN stream.

They did not want to miss watching Shoni and Jude Schimmel, two tribal members of the Confederated Tribe of Umatilla Indians, based in Pendleton, Oregon play for the fifth seeded Louisville Cardinal women's team on the biggest stage in collegiate basketball.

The Schimmel sisters have had that type of effect on American Indians as their team upset Baylor, Tennessee and Cal in the NCAA tournament because they exemplify what is right about Indian country.

Unfortunately, the Schimmel sisters' magical season ended on Tuesday night.

Regardless, the Schimmel sisters may be the hottest item in Indian country today. They showed other American Indians how to live their dreams and how to excel. The Schimmel sisters are the only American Indians to ever play in a NCAA Division 1 basketball title game.

What is particularly gratifying about the Schimmel sisters is the sheer inspiration they now generate for other America Indian people particularly American Indian youth. One can only hope young Indian girls and boys everywhere are now saying: "If Shoni and Jude can do it, so can I."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Tribes Should Support Native Talent and Schimmel Sisters Advance to Final Four.

Below:  "Mariah Kozie, a varsity basketball player at San Carlos High School, watches the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship game with her younger sister Tana. Both want to play college ball some day." (Mary Kim Titla)

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