One of Indian country’s brightest sports stars has decided to take a hiatus from the WNBA. Shoni Schimmel, a two-time WNBA All-Star who is under contract with the New York Liberty, announced her decision to step away for personal reasons on May 6.
The 25-year-old Umatilla hooper announced her intention to sit out just days before the WNBA season begins on May 13. Schimmel would have been entering her second season for the team which had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season.
“I’m very grateful to the New York Liberty for allowing me to take this season to deal with some personal issues,” Schimmel said via press release. “I look forward to rejoining them next year.”
Liberty team president Isiah Thomas says Schimmel has the team’s full support. “We look forward to continuing to work with Shoni during her time away from the game.”
In Schimmel’s first season with the Liberty, she played in the team’s first 17 games, and was averaging 4.5 minutes and 2.1 points when a concussion sidelined her for the rest of the year.
In her 2015 campaign with the Atlanta Dream, she started in 16 of 32 games, and averaged 7.6 points and 3.2 assists in 19.8 minutes per game. She was voted into the All-Star game for the second-consecutive season.
In coming to the Liberty, Schimmel said she had hoped to help the team achieve its first WNBA championship. “Whatever I can and need to do for this team, I’ll just do it,” she told Westchester Magazine in August.
Schimmel, often referred to as “Showtime,” is known for being the subject of the 2011 documentary Off the Rez; for anchoring the University of Louisville to a national championship appearance in 2013 alongside her younger sister Jude; and for leading the WNBA in jersey sales as a rookie in 2014, the same season she was named WNBA All-Star Game MVP.
Cary Rosenbaum (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a correspondent for Indian Country Media Network. Follow him on Twitter: @caryrosenbaum