University of Louisville senior Jude Schimmel, Umatilla, is nearing the end of her final year with the Cardinals.
On Thursday, Feb. 26, the Lady Cards' 77-60 win over Boston College marked Schimmel's final senior home game. She scored 11 points, had 7 assists, 5 defensive rebounds and 4 steals. At least 10,500 fans were in attendance to say goodbye to Jude, and the four other senior players this season. She had nearly 18 family members to celebrate with her, including parents Ceci and Rick Schimmel, and big sister Shoni.
In honor of the No. 22 guard, the Cardinals hosted Native American Heritage Night with First Nations Women Warriors as color guard, traditional dancers from The Red Road and music by NAMMY-nominated drum group Elk Soldier. The halftime performers traveled from all over the country to honor Schimmel, who continues to be an inspiration to Native American communities for her skill and leadership on and off the court.
Jude Schimmel moves the ball down court. The Cardinals lead 11-6 in the first half.
The Red Road is a non-profit group founded by Charles Robinson, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Robinson, a former European pro-basketball player, says the Native Heritage half-time events have been very well received by Native and non-Native spectators.
Robinson said, “The Red Road strives to educate all people on Native American culture and values. We also minister the love of God amongst our Native people, and walk with people through their struggles and addictions. Ultimately, our goal is to bring hope to our Native people.”
Elk Soldier's energetic singing and drumming gave dancers the beat for several styles of dance represented during native Heritage Night. When asked about the song to be performed, member Glenn Drapeau said it is called ‘Jude's Song'. “We have chosen this song because it's representative of strength and perseverance,” Drapeau said. “Jude has exemplified this throughout her entire career. We are Ihanktonwan Nakota (Yankton Sioux) of the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation. We drove 943 miles to get here and are excited to share this awesome experience with members of all the Red Nation!”
The Schimmel family, Shoni, Ceci, and Rick, takes in part of the game. The Cardinals never turned over the lead and won 77-60.
“I'm just flattered!” Schimmel told ICTMN about the song being named in her honor. “That's amazing to me. I'm just really thankful to have how much support we have from Native Americans from across the country, for me, my sister and my entire family….You know, the biggest thing we're trying to do is just get more Native Americans out there doing good things, and positive things for themselves and families.”
Dancers from The Red Road fill the court for halftime at UofL's Native American Heritage Night Feb. 26, 2015.
What about the WNBA draft? Do you think you'll get drafted?
“I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but at the same time, I don't really know," Schimmel said. "If the opportunity comes up that's going to be awesome, but at the end of the day, I really have no clue.”
Schimmel’s final college game, Louisville vs. Virginia, will air Sunday, March 1 on RSN/FOX.