Schimmels shine, and Louisville pulls away from Pilots
The day was all about Shoni and Jude Schimmel. And the former Franklin High stars and the Louisville women's basketball team were on cruise control all afternoon at the University of Portland.
Neither the Schimmels nor the Cardinals were at their greatest, but Shoni and Jude showed why they are Oregon basketball darlings and Louisville showed why it is the No. 13 team in the nation.
Portland hung with Louisville for the first five minutes, taking a 10-10 tie into a timeout. The Cardinals then outscored the Pilots 30-6 to close out the first half, and they kept the pressure on in the second half for a 71-42 victory at Chiles Center.
'We played well at times, and we played really badly at times,' Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. 'We have a chance to be a very good basketball team, but we play average at times, too. If you want to be great, you can't continue to do that.'
Shoni Schimmel, the 5-9 sophomore starting point guard who was a Freshman All-American, scored 14 points and added four rebounds and four assists. Jude Schimmel, a 5-6 freshman backup guard, finished with five points, four rebounds and three assists.
'They both played well,' Walz said. 'They both had their stretches where they looked really good and then had times where they tried to force some things. But having the chance to get back and play in front of family and friends, it's going to happen. I was really pleased. Now what we have to do is continue to learn and grow from it.'
It might as well have been a home game for Louisville, which improved to 10-2. Most of the 3,211 people in attendance were pro-Cardinals. Hundreds of Native Americans from the Umatilla Indian Reservation - where Shoni and Jude grew up - made the drive from Mission to Portland.
'I didn't think (the arena) was going to be that packed, to be honest,' Jude said.
Portland (5-7) managed to keep the score tied 10-10 through the first five minutes in large part because of the 3-point shooting of ReZina Teclemariam. Her first 3 put the Pilots (5-7) up 3-2, and her second 3 gave the Pilots a 10-8 lead.
Teclemariam finished the game with 11 points. Natalie Day led UP with 14 points, and Cassandra Brown added eight points.
After allowing Portland 10 points, Louisville went to a 1-2-2 half court that created havoc for the Pilots' offense. Time and time again, the UP had to launch bad shots with the shot clock winding down, and UP went nearly 14 minutes straight without a basket.
'We did a nice job with our 1-2-2 halfcourt trap and three-quarter court trap,' Walz said. 'And once they got across halfcourt, we did a really nice job of making them run through a lot of their options in their offensive set, which got the shot clock down under five several times.'
With the Pilots playing a 2-3 zone, Shoni Schimmel mostly played on the perimeter, distributed the ball and took 3-pointers. She was a touch off through most of the game, shooting 4 of 13 from behind the arc.
'I could've shot the ball a little bit better,' she said. 'A couple of (shots) could've went in, but beggars can't be choosey.'
Three of Shoni's 3-pointers were back-breaking for the Pilots, though. Her first trey in the middle of the first half put the Cardinals up 26-12, all but ending any of Portland's hopes of making it a competitive game. Shoni also drained her first two 3s at the beginning of the second half to keep Portland climbing back after being down 40-16 at halftime.
'I got a good couple of shots up and just kind of went with the flow,' Shoni said.
When Jude was in the game, she ran the point, with Shoni playing on the wing. Jude, who recently turned 18, had one of her best games of the season in the way she controlled the offense.
'It was good knowing that I have my sister as a wing because I felt like I could rely on her and the rest of my teammates,' Jude said. 'Most of them are pretty comfortable with the ball. It's comforting knowing that I can play the 1 (point) but also have players who are comfortable handling the ball when they get it.'
On the court together, at times the Schimmels had as much magic as they did at Franklin. Both Schimmels were able to anticipate the cuts the other made and deliver passes that either set up baskets or set up another pass to an open player.
'We knew where each other was and it was easier for us because we've played with each other so long,' Shoni said. 'We know each other's game.'
While she was hot and cold as a shooter, Shoni used the afternoon to showcase her greatest talent - making everyone around her better. During her 30 minutes of work, the Cardinals' passes were crisper, the offense was more surgical, and the defense created more plays.
Louisville guard Becky Burke led all scorers with 17 points, and Bria Smith added nine.
For the first time in her college career, Jude closed out the game with the ball in her hands. When the clock hit zero, a huge smile flashed across her face.
'It was a good feeling,' she said.
On Monday, the Pilots will play host to Boise State, and the Cardinals will head north to play at Washington State.
After Saturday's game, the Louisville players stayed on the floor to listen to an Indian drum band chant for them. As soon as the chant ended, Shoni and Jude were surrounded by family members giving them hugs and fans asking for their autographs.
'It was great to be back here and just to be able to play in front of everyone,' Shoni said. 'It was fun to go out there and play.'