One of the better stories to emerge from either the Men’s or Women’s NCAA March Madness in 2013 is the story of Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel.
Shoni is a junior guard for Louisville who helped lead the Cardinals to a string of upsets in 2013 (including defeating perennial powers Baylor [with Brittney Griner] and Tennessee) on their way to becoming the lowest seeded team (#5) to ever reach the Championship Game on the women’s side. On this journey, Shoni has been joined by her younger sister, Jude, a sophomore point guard.
While this Cinderella run ended with a blowout loss to Geno Auriemma’s Yankee-like UConn team, the best part of Shoni’s (and Jude’s) story transcends wins and losses.
Shoni, and her entire family, were featured in the well-received documentary “Off the Rez”, directed by Jonathan Hock (who was also responsible for two of ESPN 30 for 30’s best documentaries, “The Best that Never Was” and “Survive and Advance).
In high school, Shoni was one of the most highly-recruited female players in the country. She also happens to be Native American who lived with her family on the Umatilla Indian Reservation on Oregon. In the documentary, Shoni strives to excel in the cut-throat arena of high school (coached by her mother, Ceci Moses) and college basketball while still holding on to, and honoring, her Native American heritage.
Shoni is fun, spunky athlete who plays a good game and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the big girls (witness her trash-talking of Brittney Griner in their Sweet 16 upset of Baylor). She has also sought to honor her heritage through body art. On her left wrist, Shoni has the word ‘timena’ tattooed. It means ‘heart’ in her native tribal language.
More recently, Shoni has been spotted with a design peaking out from under her uniform jersey on the front of her left shoulder. It looks like it could be a diamond, but I have not seen a full picture of it.
While the loss to Connecticut is disappointing, Shoni and her sister, Jude, will be back next year to see if they can take the Cardinals that last step. She will continue to be a inspiration to Native American girls nationwide.
While Shoni does not have a Twitter account or pages dedicated to her, you can find out more about that documentary “Off the Rez” here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1754300/?ref_=sr_1