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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday Cardinal Couple -- Starting Ms. Schimmel ??


- What role is best for Shoni Schimmel?

- Fat Friday Trolley Hop a rollicking good time




Does the All-Star MVP Deserve to Start?

There has been a lot written in the media and discussed on line about the
appropriateness of Shoni Schimmel coming off the bench for her Atlanta Dream
team.  Facing Atlanta coming to play the Lynx, Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve was
asked whether she thought there might be a change in Atlanta’s starting lineup. 
Coach Reeve said, “I expect to see a change.  How can you not start the MVP of the
All-Star Game?”  That is a good question that many people are asking.  To add to
the irony of the situation, the Lynx were having a celebration of NA heritage at
the game, and they had thousands of Native American fans coming to the game to
see Shoni play, not to see her sit on the bench.

Women's basketball has been struggling in many places to put fans in the seats,
and does not have the dynamic slams to entertain like the NBA has.  Therefore,
it has to value the entertaining nature of Shoni's game and not dismiss it as
showboating.  Anyone who has watched her play knows she plays to win first and
foremost, but she also enjoys being creative and entertaining, and she uses her
play to inspire her teammates and help them win games.  You do not have to play
boring basketball to win. 

It was nice to hear Jeff Walz note the entertainment value of Shoni’s game in an
article in Slam Magazine about Shoni Schimmel by Mirin Fader.  The article was
titled “Dream Big.”

 ( mel-atlanta-dream/). 

People have to remember that sports are first and foremost entertainment.  If
the WNBA is to survive and prosper economically, it has to value what is
entertaining and what is exciting for the fans.  The fans voted Shoni on the
All-Star team, not because she is Native American, but because she is one of the
most exciting and entertaining players to watch in the WNBA. 

Off and on I have played and coached BB since the 1950s.  I can remember back in
the 1950s when the mostly White establishment outlawed the slam dunk in college
and high school BB.  That misguided rule held BB back more than a decade until
the fans eventually demanded the dunk be allowed.  To me, those media people who
demean and dismiss Shoni’s game are similar to those who wanted to keep the
men’s game in the conservative dark ages back in the 1950s and 60s. 

Believe it or not, the dunk is still banned in warmups in college games.  The
ban was not because of the fear of bending the rim or breaking the glass;  it
was because excessive flamboyance offended the conservative establishment.  This
is also why we still have that stupid rule about excessive celebration in
college football.  And it is why the conservative media and establishment in
women’s basketball is still uncomfortable with the free-wheeling, creative and
flamboyant nature of Shoni’s entertaining style of basketball, better known to
Native Americans as Rez Ball.

I have gotten frustrated with commentators on ESPN being critical of her game
every time a pass or shot goes array, but then in another article lament the
attendance problem at women's basketball games.  Why do they insist the game be
played so conservatively, and then at the same lament the lack of fans in the
stands.  Shoni and the WNBA All Star game showcased how entertaining women's
basketball can be, and how creative and high risk plays and shots can contribute
to excellent play and to winning as well as be entertaining.

Nevertheless, I am not as critical of Atlanta coaches as some others I have
read.  The Dream have other guards who are very good players.  Tiffany Hayes has
been phenomenal, and has been very entertaining in her own right this season. 
Jasmine Thomas is a very good guard who plays excellent defense, can hit the
open shot and can drive to the basket.  But she is not an ideal point guard. 
She does not see the court well, does not feed the post well and is not
particularly good at leading the fast break. The Dream added the French PG
Celine Dumerc, and she is still adjusting to the WNBA. But she can play and
deserves playing time as well.  Shoni is the only one of the guards who can be
both a good PG and a good shooting guard. 

People have been writing articles as though Shoni has been a rarely used reserve
all season, but that has only been true of the last four games just prior to the
All-Star game.  In the first 17 games, she averaged 24 minutes per game, which
was the fourth most minutes on the team.  From the time she was announced as an
All-Star on July 8, her minutes were immediately diminished to an average of
only 10 minutes per game, even though her team was up a +16 during those ten
minutes when she was on the floor.   Despite barely playing in the four games
after she was announced as an All-Star, she is still fifth on the team in
scoring, second in assists, and first in free throw percentage.  And she leads
the team in three point shots made. 

From an external perspective, it appears she was punished severely for having
the audacity to be elected an All-Star, even though it was the Dream that put on
her name on the ballot.  Not playing in those four games after being elected an
All-Star made her stats at the All-Star Game look bad, and virtually everyone in
the media has made a big deal of her poor stats going into the All-Star game.

I have no problem with Shoni not starting, but letting her play 10 minutes or
less is not good for her, not good for her team and not good for the WNBA. 
Bringing her off the bench gives the reserves an extra explosive offensive
player who can create for herself and others.  It does not necessarily mean the
coach thinks she is not one of the five best players on the team.  Many teams
bring off the bench a talented sixth player to help their reserves and put
pressure on the other team's reserves.  Shoni’s sister, Jude, essentially played
that role for Louisville last year.

In the end, Coach Reeve was indeed surprised at the start of the
Minnesota/Atlanta game because Shoni did not start, but Shoni did get 31 minutes
in a double OT, 50 minute game.  In the game. Shoni hit five threes, scored 17
points, had 8 assists, 2 steals, 3 rebounds while making only one turnover.. 
She also literally grabbed the ball and wrestled it away from Minnesota’s
All-Star PG Lindsay Whalen while both players had both hands on the ball. 
Lindsay is bigger and supposed to be a lot stronger than Shoni, but Shoni
fearlessly grabbed the ball while in Lindsay’s hands and wrestled it away from
her.  Then Shoni dribbled the ball to the hoop and made a no-look pass to a
teammate for an easy layup. 

While the game was tied at the end of the fourth quarter with less than ten
seconds to play, Shoni went for the steal against Maya Moore, the WNBA’s leading
scorer; and, with a teammate’s help, Shoni got the steal.  Shoni then took the
ball to the Dream’s hoop where she attempted a highly contested short hook shot
to win the game.  It bounced off the rim and a teammate’s put back also went off
the rim, so the game went to overtime.   Those are the kind of surprising and
exciting plays Shoni’s fearless and flamboyant play brings to the game. 

The Lynx won the game 112-108 in double OT.  Five All-Stars played in this game. 
Maya Moore scored 48 points in the game, and seven  players scored 17 or more
points in the game.  The game certainly followed the pattern of the All-Star
game with brilliant, competitive and startling plays on both sides.  All the
fans were entertained.



The end of the month Friday Night Fat Friday Trolley Hop on Frankfort Ave. in Crescent Hill had absolutely perfect weather and a great entertainment lineup last evening. CARDINAL COUPLE crew Paulie, Sonja and Worldwide were on hand to see the country-rock, up and coming stars Ben Knight and the Welldiggers and the legendary Juggernaut Jug Band.

It was four hours of fun and great music! The electic Juggernaut Guys (Roscoe Goose, Slim Chance and Skip Tracer) were buoyed and inspired by the large, appreciative crowd to put on one of the best shows I've seen the boys do in a long time. That, without a bass player...(Nick O' Time has left the band)...the trio roared through classics like "Waiting For That Chicken Pie To Cool" and an absolutely hilarious tribute to Led Zeppelin while keeping the crowd enertained with their snappy dialouge.

They'll be at Joe Huber's in Starlite, IN tonight. Go if you have a chance.



  1. There is one possible side benefit for Shoni not to start many games. Not starting too much qualifies her for the 6 th person award.

    With that being said, for some reason Shoni's shooting % of both 2's and 3's have not been good. Combined with her defensive problems ( has been working and definitely improving on defense) it is difficult for a coach to name her in a starting role.

    I think her playing time and role is completely in her hands. While on the floor she needs to make the best of that time but with that being said, she still is a rookie where up's and downs will occur. Good Lynx game followed by poor next game with 0-7 shooting including a 3 point attempt at the end of game where her team lost by 3.

    Give her - and Coach Cooper ( upon his return) a chance to work it out. I think the winter league will help as the first year was difficult also for Brittney and Diggins.

    1. When you consider that a 3 point make is the equivalent of one and a half two pointers, her effective shooting percentage is 47%, having made 33 threes and 28 twos out of 169 shots. Hitting 30% on threes is the equivalent of hitting 45% on twos. But she should be hitting an effective % of over 50% with better shot selection.

      It is a tough league in which to be consistently good. You have the best women's BB players in the world on just 12 teams. And when you have a stand out game, the other teams and coaches take notice, and create defenses to stop you. All players in the WNBA are up and down a lot, but that is especially true of rookies. Opposing teams exploit your weaknesses and try to take away your strenghts, so in the WNBA it is more challenging to stay ahead of opponents and consistently excel. GW

  2. I think everything is happening perfectly for Shoni. Top ten draft pick, three point contest winner, WNBA All Star MVP. She's never been a particularly efficient scorer. High risk, high reward. Like may rookies she needs to work on her body / fitness and her defense. She'll end up being one of the all time greats but it doesn't happen over night. I don't remember her dropping more than 29 points more than a handfull of times during her four years starting for U of L so doing it in her first All Star game is the stuff legends are made of.

    She'll get a big contract overseas when the W season is done and they'll absolutely love her over there. It's reasonable to expect her to make at least ten times more over there than in the WNBA. What was that song from back in the day?..."The Futures So Bright Gotta Wear Shades". It's all good.

    I won't hurt her to not start this year. Should be a perspective builder. Cooper knows what he's doing.

  3. Start Shoni and bring Dumeric and Thomas in off the bench. The lineup of Shoni, Hayes, Angel, Sancho and Erika is the best the Dream can throw at the opposition. I wish Cooper the best with his tongue cancer but hope he uses his recovery time to see how well the lineup above clicks and utilizes it when he returns.


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