Jude Schimmel is treasuring every moment she has left with the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, knowing the next game could be her last, not wanting it to end. Every trip down court to be treasured, adding to the legacy of the Schimmel sisters.
The younger sister of Shoni, Jude has emerged from a support role to a consistent leader in her senior season. One who doesn’t hesitate to take the big shots when those of her teammates are falling short, getting tentative or just going astray.
Things were going south in the second half in the NCAA quarterfinal game against South Florida. USF’s Courtney Williams was getting warmed up, going around UofL defenders with ease, scoring 10 of her team’s 13 points during UofL’s scoring drought. South Florida finally overtook the Cardinals, grabbing a 47-46 with 3:06 remaining.
Schimmel had missed one of those shots herself. But she would need to assume command, assessing the situation, Sara Hammond and Bria Smith each with four fouls, Myisha Hines-Allen with three. Her team embedded in a shooting slump, missing seven of their last eight shots. Not good with Courtney Williams using them as scrimmage material.
And Jude would take over, easing through the congestion, taking her defender one-on-one, getting the ball to fall through the basket. Not a pretty shot, but a good one, and Louisville was back on top to stay. Jude would score eight of her team’s final 12 points, including those graceful four-of-four attempts from the free throw line.
Schimmel would wind up as the team’s leading scorer with 13 points on a night when her team was making only 33 percent of their shots in still another defensive struggle. Also grabbing six rebounds, handing out five assists and making three steals.
When the game was over, UofL had defeated South Florida 62-50 on the Bulls’ home court, finally silencing the largest crowd to ever see a USF women’s game in Tampa. And UofL would advance to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season.
Jude’s not ready for it to be over. She clearly has some dreams of her own.