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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday Cardinal Couple -- Remembering "The Shot"


- Remembering " The Shot" 

( We'll be doing a series of articles this summer about some of our favorite memories of UofL women's sports over the years. We start
this series with what is simply known as "the shot". Shoni Schimmel's amazing score against Brittney Griner in the 2013 NCAA Regionals.)

It was Easter Sunday and the Louisville WBB squad was in the Sweet 16...taking on and taking it to the #1 squad in the nation...the Baylor Bears. 

The clock reads 9:54 and the surprising Cards, fueled by a three-point barrage, have a 12-point lead over the #1 seed in the tournament Bears. 

Shoni Schimmel takes the pass after the defensive rebound. Clock/time possession is the last thing on her mind. She zips down the right side of the floor and crosses half-court. She has caught the Baylor defense napping...only Brittney Griner is between her and the basket.

6'7" Griner. 

A Griner who basically covers the same ground in two steps that takes Schimmel a half-dozen to travel. Griner moves toward the advancing Card and Schimmel plots her course. 

At full speed and in between the half-court line and the top of the key, Schimmel performs a nifty behind her back ball dribble move and gets past the recovering defender. Nita Slaughter is open on the other side of the court. Or...Schimmel could stop and pop an uncontested "three". 

She does neither. Shoni Schimmel has a step on Griner and she is headed to the hoop. 

Shoni jumps while still in front of the rim. Her momentum carrier her to the left side of the rim. Griner leaves the ground as well...ready for another of her nation-leading blocks. Shoni makes a that Griner's long arm is blocked by Shoni's back.

Schimmel flips the orb skyward, Griner fouls her. It banks off the backboard as the referee blows the whistle for the foul.

The ball slips through the rim. Goal!!  Plus one. 

"I don't want to say it was a miracle how it happened...but it was just kind of crazy HOW it happened." - Shoni Schimmel.

"She made a shot on me. I thought I had a good chance at the block. She made a good play." -Brittney Griner

The momentum of "the shot" sends Shoni to the floor. The attempt to block sends Griner staggering, back turned to the baseline...where she almost steps on the prone guard.

Schimmel gets up to go to the foul line. Griner is in her path. Schimmel turns as she passes Griner and barks in her face. Shoni doesn't remember, so she says...what she said to Griner. Fist clenched at her side, face gazing upward into Griner's sullen, expressionless face...Schimmel says what every underdog dreams they could say to a bigger, favored opponent. 

I'm still here. 

The shot. Another three-point play on an afternoon where the majority of them were coming from just one shot by Nita or Shoni or Jude. Few will remember that Sherrone Vails hit a "three" in the 82-81 win. So did Sara Hammond. Even Mo Reid tried one. Why not?Might as well go fishing when they're biting, right?...but hers missed the mark. Mo had her moment later...with two free throws to win the game. 

The shot. A symbol of never giving up. Of refusing to back down or walk away from a challenge. A defining moment in the career of a select group of ladies who went to the Final Four. The biggest upset in the history of women's college basketball. 

The shot. I saw it. I still marvel about it. 

"She may be Brittney Griner...but I'm Shoni Schimmel."



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