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Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Best sister WBB combo of all time?


-Are Shoni and Jude Schimmel the best sister combo of all time in women's college basketball?

-KY Girls High School Softball Tournament results

They've played for the University of Louisville for two years now as a tandem. They're recognizable nationwide. But...are they the best sister duo to ever suit up on the same team in women's college basketball history?

We're talking about Shoni and Jude Schimmel, of course. They aren't the first sister pair to ever play for Louisville... both Toni (2006-07) and Nita Slaughter (2010-current) played for the Cards, just not on the same roster together). Are the Schimmels the best sister combo of all time in NCAA WBB?

Folks on the west coast would point to Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike from Stanford as contenders. And, the two did put up some significant numbers while toiling for the Cardinal. Out around Oklahoma way, fans might mention Courtney and April Paris for the Sooners. What they did was impressive for OU, no doubt. The Smith sisters were a powerhouse at USF over the last several years. There are challenges...and contenders that rival Shoni and Jude.

Fans of Georgia WBB would argue that Coco and Kelly Miller, who both entered the WNBA in 2001 have a legit claim to the honor as best sister combo. They were spectacular and had a very good college and WNBA run. Both played together for a season with Angel McCoughtry and the Atlanta Dream.

When you look at the entire body (or bodies) of work,'s hard to surpass what the Schimmels' have done on and off the court. It goes way past assists, threes and ball handling when it comes to the Louisville duo.

Playing for UofL, sisters Shoni and Jude have become heroes to Native Americans and that native pride is resonating throughout not only their 2800 member Umatilla Tribe, but throughout Indian Country. Their play serves as inspiration for current and generations to come in Indian Country.

The sisters' love of the game is evident when their playing in a national championship game or in a pickup game at home which might include anyone from their four-year-old brother to their mother and father. Shoni says it best when she comments:

"On any given day, I think we're just ready to play ball. That's our competitive nature. We just want to go out there and have fun and compete."

They've been the subjects of documentaries, of national forums on Title IX and after Shoni arrived at Louisville, Jude had no doubt about where she would be the next year.

"It's really rare to get to play a Division I Sport with your sister and I wanted to share that experience with Shoni."

They still have strong connections to their heritage and credit their family and tribe for their successes. As children, they dressed in traditional regalia handcrafted by their great grandmother and danced at tribal events. They've carried the dancing on as college students and members of the UofL women's basketball team...dancing by opposing guards in the BIG EAST and NCAA to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances as a duo and the National Championship game in the 2012-13 season.

"We both want to give back." said Jude of returning to the reservation. Shoni has considered the possibility of opening a restaurant that features traditional Native American foods. "I want to make it known that we have our own foods too." Holding true to their heritage is important to both sisters. Inspiration comes from the Native Americans who helped pave the road for them.

Inspiration on the court for the two is obvious. It was evident during the last Louisville WBB season that a lot of good things occur on the hardwood when Shoni and Jude were out there together.

"We've played together thirteen years." Jude will tell you. "I'm not surprised by anything Shoni can do or what we can do together. We have this zone, this wavelength between us."

Because of the Schimmel's inspiring dedication, a watershed of Native American talented student athletes will flow. If that doesn't make them the most influential and talented sister combination in the history of NCAA Women's basketball, then show me one better. I suppose one could say I am possibly prejudiced here...since I am a huge UofL WBB fan...but when you look at the whole's hard to top the Sho and Jude show.

And it still has a year to go.


Results from the first round of the Ky. Girls 2013 Softball Championships:

Notre Dame 6 (no, not the BIG EAST one) - Montgomery 5
Greenwood 7 - South Laurel 1
Lone Oak 4 - Central Hardin 0
Scott Co. 2 - Louisville Male 1 ( it was the girl Male team)
Boyle Co. 3 - Estill Co. 0
Louisville Mercy 5 - Oldham Co. 4
Owensboro Catholic 14 (what!) - Livingston Central 2
Ashland 6 - Magoffin Co. 0

Congrats to the victors and they go at it again tomorrow in Owensboro. We'd love to see this thing moved to Louisville down the road...but finding a place where four games could go on at the same time might pose an insurmountable task.

If your favorite team lost yesterday, fret not. It's a double elimination format. 




  1. They're amazing for all of the reasons you call out, but I don't think they're the best ever. Hard to argue against the Ogwumike sisters (as much as I dislike Stanford).

    Jude gets the prize for the cutest baller sister in a supporting role, but she's just doesn't have the size & strength to get the Shimmel sisters over the top. That said maybe she'll surprise us in her final two years.

  2. If we're talking about strictly who's best on the hardwood, it has to be the Ogwumike sisters. If Chiney is not the second #1 WNBA pick in the family, she will certainly be a top 3 pick, and no other tandem can match that. If we're talking about most influential on and off the court, however, I would go with the Schimmel sisters.
    --PDX Phil

  3. Schimmel Sister's all the way!!!!! Proud to be Native!!!!


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