March Madness: Native American Guard Shoni Schimmel Delivers ‘One of the Biggest Upsets in History’

For weeks, ESPN has been asking only one question in women's college basketball: Who's going to stop Baylor University Brittney Griner?

By Jorge Rivas Apr 01, 2013

For weeks, ESPN has been asking only one question in women’s college basketball: Who’s going to stop Baylor University’s Brittney Griner?

Griner is the first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) female basketball player ever to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots. But her final college game came a week earlier than expected in a shocking upset when Baylor lost to Louisville.

ESPN said Louisville pulled off "one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament." The Associated Press also marked the occasion with similar words, calling Baylor’s loss "one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA women’s tournament."

So who’s largely responsible for taking down Baylor University and Brittney Griner?

The Indian Country Today Media Network has the answer:

Leading the charge for the U of L was, again, All-Everything point guard Shoni Schimmel. She drained five three-pointers and hit from everywhere else closer to the hoop, finishing with a team-high 22 points. Shoni’s sister and super sixth-woman, Jude Schimmel, added six points, five rebounds and three assists, tied for tops on the team. The Schimmel sisters are from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon.

Shoni Schimmel, who’s 5-foot-10, grew up on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon.

"There’s so many Native Americans that coulda-shoulda-woulda but didn’t do anything," Schimmel told Louisville’s Courier-Journal in 2011. "It’s almost sickening how much talent is [on the reservation.]"

"I am very proud of who I am and where I came from, but I wanted to be one of the ones that made it out. My job is to play basketball, and I love doing it," Schimmel went on to say.

According to NCAA’s most recent NCAA Race and Gender Demographics Report, there were four male and 21 female Division I basketball players that identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native during the 2011-2012 season.