Shoni Schimmel not much of a factor for New York Liberty

Shoni Schimmel’s career in the Women’s National Association may be coming to an end … and it won’t be a happy ending for all the people who looked up to her.

Shoni Schimmel.
Shoni Schimmel.

Considered a role model when she played for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, Shoni and her sister Jude attracted hundreds of Native Americans at home and road games. They celebrated when Shoni was picked by the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA draft in 2014.

Shoni would get off to a good start in the WNBA, averaging 8.3 points and more than 21 minutes of playing time per game. She was voted to the NBA All-Star team in her first season, going on to earn Most Valuable Player honors while leading the East to a 125-124 overtime win over the West.

Instead of going overseas to play basketball, Shoni elected to go home to the reservation after the season. She returned the next season to Atlanta needing to play herself into shape, starting slowly but finishing the season averaging 7.6 points per game.

Atlanta wasn’t happy with Shoni’s lack of commitment during the off-season, trading her this year to the New York Liberty. Schimmel again was out of shape, needing to recover from her time off on the reservation.

New York Liberty is 17-7 and leading the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. Shoni has not been a factor, however, averaging less than five minutes of playing time in 16 of the team’s 24 games.

Schimmel scored six points on a couple of 3-pointers in an 88-70 loss to the Minnesota Lynx six games ago but has not scored since. She was scoreless in three games and didn’t see the floor in the two other games.

Disappointing that Shoni loses her motivation between seasons, failing to stay in shape. That’s unfortunate for her — and all the young Native American girls who looked up to her.

Shoni Schimmel working her way back

University of Louisville women’s basketball fans waited patiently for Shoni Schimmel, of the Atlanta Dream, to be sent into a televised WNBA game against the Tulsa Shock on Tuesday, believing Shoni could provide an offensive boost. She never got on the floor, however, in an 85-75 home floor loss.

Shoni, they figured, would be just what the Dream needed on a night when former UofL great Angel McCoughtry was scoring 25 points. Wasn’t going to happen.Shoni-Schimmel-UofLCardGame

Schimmel sat in the same spot on the bench all night, never removing her light blue warmup jersey. No way Coach Michael Cooper was going to insert her in the game, win or lose. The Dream never had the lead, losing its seventh game in 12 starts, and in last place in the Eastern Division.

She’s apparently out of shape, unable to contribute effectively after taking the off season away from basketball. Well almost. Shoni did help her mother coach their high school basketball team.

“The bottom line is she understands the magnitude of being a professional basketball player, a professional athlete now,” Cooper told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s about keeping your body in tip-top shape all year around to where when you come to training camp, training camp shouldn’t be a time for you to get in shape, training camp is a time to take the shape you’re in and take it to another level with your teammates.”

Schimmel has played in 10 games, starting in two of them, while averaging only 15.1 minutes per game. She’s managing only 4.4 points and 2.4 points assists per game.

“I’m not too worried about it, and I don’t think Coop is either,” said Schimmel. “We have an understanding there.”

Schimmel expects to return to top shape in about three weeks.

Shoni Schimmel settles in quickly at Atlanta

Shoni Schimmel couldn’t have gotten off to any better start in her debut in the Women’s National Basketball Association, scoring 26 points and making 21 assists in her first two games.

Meanwhile, Angel McCoughtry, another former University of Louisville All American, is leading the league in scoring with 24 points per game.  Their team is undefeated after two games.

The Dream will celebrate Native American Night on Friday, May 30 when it hosts Seattle in honor of Shoni who grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon.

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Asia Taylor has averaged just under nine minutes in two games with the Minnesota Lynx, averaging two points per game.

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The Los Angeles Sparks cut former U of L standout Antonita Slaughter and the Connecticut Sun waived former University of Kentucky center DeNesha Stallworth.

Shoni Schimmel makes pro debut May 16th

Shoni Schimmel will make a quick transition from college basketball to the Women’s National Basketball Association. The WNBA season officially begins Friday, May 16th.SchimmelJersey-670 copy

Shoni and her former University of Louisville team, Angel McCoughtry, will open the season at San Antonio. Top two players in the program’s history, making the Atlanta Dream the pro women’s team of choice for all UofL fans.

The next day, on Saturday, May 17th, Atlanta travels to Indianapolis to play the Indiana Fever at Lucas Oil Stadium. It’s Family Night and tickets are available for $20, which also includes a soft drink, chips, hot dogs and a T-shirt.

Shoni’s new coach, Michael Cooper, was recently comparing her to Magic Johnson in a Portland Tribune piece.  “I see a lot of Magic in her,” he said. “But she’s a better 3-point shooter. Magic didn’t become a good 3-point shooter until the end of his career.”

Jude Schimmel recently tweeted that her sister’s Altanta Dream jersey sold out shortly after it was posted on the team’s web site.

Angel McCoughtry cuts a new music video

Angel McCoughtry, the best women’s basketball player ever at the University of Louisville, is out with a new music video.

Her version of “Illusion” is never going to make Billboard’s top 10, if that still exists, but her musical talent is another example of her versatility and the approach she takes in life, never backing down from a challenge. She also looks fantastic in the promo.

McCoughtry was named to the 2011 All-WNBA First Team after leading the Atlanta Dream to the WNBA championship series last season. She was second in the WNBA in scoring, averaging 21.6 points per game. She also ranked third in in steals (2.2 spg) and earned her second consecutive WNBA All-Defensive First Team selection. McCoughtry topped the 30+ point mark a league-high six times.

How’s that statue coming along, Tom?