Follow the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
Tweets from the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than 1,500 Native Americans filled the stands at the KFC Yum! Center Monday night to cheer on the third-ranked Lady Cards.
They've come from tribes all over the U.S. to see star guard Shoni Schimmel on senior night. The Cards took on defending national champions UConn.
Schimmel is best-known for her accuracy, her passion and for being the older of two incredibly talented sisters on the U of L women's basketball team.
But she is also the equivalent of a rock star in the Native American community.
It's what brought 1,500 Native American fans from more than 30 states to Louisville tonight.
"It's special" Schimmel said, "but at the same time I'm just grateful to share it with my team mates my family."
"Tribal members, not just our tribe, but all over Oklahoma, all over the United States, when the Schimmels are playing, I promise you they're watching," said Muscogee Creek Nation member Edwin Marshall.
Edwin Marshall and about 15 others from the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma braved snow and ice to get here.
They hadn't even slept yet when WDRB caught up with them this afternoon -- they were that excited about seeing the Schimmel sisters play.
"For the University of Louisville to host a Native American night, I think it says something about the impact Shoni and Jude have had on this team," Marshall said.
Shoni and her younger sister Jude are from a family of eight children.
They were raised in Oregon on the Umatilla Native American Reservation.
"It's just kinda like its own community but its the same as any community," Shoni Schimmel said.
As they've been busy breaking records, they're also breaking stereotypes.
"People always ask me do you guys live in teepees? No we don't live in teepees," Shoni Schimmel said.
"It's not about the John Wayne Indians you've always seen," Marshall said. "They represent the values and the image of what Native America really is."
"It's much bigger than Native American night -- its about a lot of nations coming together," said Schimmel.
"The truth about Native American youth and Native American society is it's nothing like you think it is -- it's far better," Marshall said.
Shoni Schimmel is expected to be a top pick in the WNBA draft.