At last Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game, Shoni Schimmel recreated the shot that became an iconic image of the Louisville women’s basketball team’s run to the 2013 national title game.
She drove to the basket, turned her back to it and tossed a one-handed layup over towering Brittney Griner, the former Baylor center who has since become a professional star. The shot again dropped, but this time Schimmel’s reaction wasn’t to turn to Griner and roar.
After the game — Schimmel scored an All-Star Game-record 29 points and won MVP — she created a different lasting memory.
“Brittney, come here! My mom wants to take a picture with you!” Schimmel said, per ESPN.com’s Michelle Voepel.
It’s Voepel’s opinion that thanks to personalities like Schimmel’s, and the talents that come with them, that the WNBA is nearing a renaissance. The 18th-year league “is still developing its niche in the sports world,” she wrote, but a player like Schimmel gives fans reason to say, “Ok, I’ll watch this to see how she does.”
“In Indian country, she is changing lives,” her mother, Ceci, told ESPN.
“It’s the same old Shoni, just a different stage,” added younger sister Jude Schimmel.
Schimmel, of the Atlanta Dream, was grouped by Voepel into the youth movement category with Griner, the former Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins and UConn product Elena Delle Donne.
“Saturday was about the here and now, but also the future,” Voepel wrote. “Like (WNBA veteran Sue) Bird said, the WNBA has to feel pretty good about both. Thanks to the likes of Schimmel, Diggins and Griner, it was easy to feel that way.
IN THE C-J
—The ACC Kickoff — the league’s football media days — wrapped up on Monday with comments from U of L football coach Bobby Petrino. Reporter Jeff Greer was in Greensboro, N.C., and published a series of stories looking at the Cardinals’ upcoming season. (http://cjky.it/1ztHIc1)
—Before football season, though, there’s the whole PGA Championship thing. Bovada.LV released odds for next month’s Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, making Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Adam Scott the top three picks. (http://cjky.it/1ztHIc1)
—Making waves Monday was news that Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops won’t attend Wednesday’s Governor’s Cup Luncheon in Louisville now that the annual rivalry game has moved to November. Stoops “didn’t see the wisdom,” according to a spokesman, of dedicating a full day to an event four months away. (http://cjky.it/1wV9me3)
AROUND THE WEB
—New U of L basketball commit Deng Adel, speaking to AusHoops.com, said his decision to pledge early gives him an advantage. “Because I committed early, I can ask them, ‘What can I work on before I go there?’ So when I go to college, I can be an immediate impact.” (http://bit.ly/1p9YGa2)
—Teddy Bridgewater scoffed at his Madden 2015 rating — it’s not among the top 13 rookies in a game that will be near to the “virtual reps” expert’s heart — but former U of L safety Calvin Pryor received high marks with a 95/99 in the “power” category. (http://bit.ly/1sKlNLS)
—Former Kentucky player Nerlens Noel’s NBA summer league run has cemented him atop the league’s “Rookie Ladder,” which projects the race for Rookie of the Year. “The way he moved, the way he protected the rim was very encouraging, as long as the 76ers weren’t hiding anything when they said Noel missed games simply to avoid over-working the left leg,” wrote Scott Howard-Cooper. (http://on.nba.com/UlOtMK)
Jonathan Lintner can be reached at (502) 582-4199. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanLintner.