The Umatilla Thrilla...our Louisville rookie who doesn't even start for her own team, put on a record-breaking performance...scoring 29 points to help the East beat the West 125-124 on Saturday in the first WNBA All-Star game to go to overtime.
Nailing huge shot after huge shot in the fourth quarter and overtime, including a behind-the-head flip over 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner, Schimmel gave the fans a great show. After all, it's what she does and who she is.
Schimmel averages 7.1 points in limited time for Atlanta, yet she was voted in as an All-Star starter because of the huge nationwide and Native American following she has. With 17 family members and her brothers wearing "Rez Ball Rules" t-shirts, cheering her on...Schimmel earned MVP honors.
"Being Native American, it's a huge accomplishment to go out there and be in the WNBA. To have the fans look up to me and to a role model not only for my siblings but also the Native American fans, the Native American people. It's huge. I take on my shoulders because I enjoy it."
Tamika Catchings, an All-Star for a record-tying ninth time, made a layup with 6.9 seconds to go to give the East the lead and then knocked the ball away from Skylar Diggins on the defensive end to seal the victory. Diggins finished with 27 points and seven assists, leading a furious West rally to force overtime.
Brittney Griner, of the host Mercury, scored 17 points, including the third WNBA All-Star dunk, for the West.
Shoni took the MVP honors...the first rookie to do so in the WNBA...and also shared the secret of her success...
"It was awesome, just to be able to go out there and play my game, have fun," Schimmel said, "feel free to go out there and play 'rez ball.'"
Schimmel earned her "Sho-time" nickname at Louisville. It hasn't really carried over to the Dream yet. She was drafted eighth by the team and has only started twice. She's just the third reserve player ever to start a WNBA All-Star game, according to STATS. Any grumbling about her inclusion vanished in an electric second half and overtime, when she scored 24 points.
Maya Moore scored 24 for the West. Tina Charles had 19, Chiney Ogwumike 15, Catchings 14 and Angel McCoughtry 13 for the East.
Diggins, the WNBA's No. 2 scorer, had six of the West's last eight points in regulation, capped by a layup off a turnover with 26.3 seconds to go to tie it at 112-112.
The East came out flat in the overtime.
Griner opened with a layup and Moore's 3-pointer put the West up 124-117 with 1:59 to play.
But Katie Douglas sank a 3 to cut it to 124-120 with 1:15 to go, then Schimmel made her seventh trifecta of the afternoon with 41.9 seconds left to cut the West lead to 124-123.
Catchings' driving layup and Diggins' turnover finally put an end to the frenetic contest.
Maybe Michael Cooper, who coaches the Atlanta Dream and also coached the winning East squad finally gets it. If a play-off trip is where you want to go...start the "Sho". Cooper, a defensive specialist during his days in the NBA, is sitting on a powder keg.
Maybe he needs to have a friendly chat with Jeff Walz (who was in Phoenix for the game). Fans come to see offense. With Angel and Shoni on his roster, he has more offensive firepower than most WNBA squads. He needs to use it.
The season will continue. On this special Saturday, though...the best of the best got together for one incredible game and the newest kid on the block took home all the marbles.
(Parts of this article are from The Huffington Post)