Louisville's Shoni Schimmel shines from outside
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)
Shoni Schimmel has been on some shooting streak lately, carrying fifth-ranked Louisville to 14 straight victories.
The senior guard broke her own school record in the Cardinals' win over Memphis on Sunday, hitting nine 3-pointers. While she cooled off a bit against Rutgers on Tuesday night, only hitting four in Louisville's 80-71 victory, she still was a major threat from the outside which opened up the Cardinals' inside game.
''Even when she's not hitting, she still needs to be guarded which makes it easier for us to get points inside,'' Louisville coach Jeff Walz said.
Schimmel has made 20 3s in her last three games, matching Iowa's Melissa Dixon for the most by any player over a three-game span this season, according to STATS. She was only two short of tying the best mark in 17 seasons over a three-game span.
''I definitely have been fortunate that my shots have been falling lately,'' Schimmel said. ''It's great that my teammates have been able to find me in the right place.''
Schimmel, who scored 24 points in the victory over Rutgers, moved into second place on the school's all-time scoring list trailing only Angel McCoughtry.
''She's a lot of fun to watch and play with,'' said Louisville teammate Sara Hammond, who added 18 in the win Tuesday night. ''I can only imagine what it's like for the other team when her 3's are falling. It really gets us going.''
One of the biggest changes in Schimmel's game this season is that she's been more efficient on offense. In the record-setting performance against Memphis she only took 16 shots. She missed her first four before giving herself a pep talk on the bench. It worked as she got hot from the field, connecting on six 3-pointers in a 4-minute span.
''That's what has impressed me the most about her is that she's starting to let the game come to her,'' Walz said.
Schimmel, who is averaging over 18 points and shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc this season, really burst onto the national scene in the NCAA tournament last season when she helped Louisville upset Brittney Griner and Baylor in the regional semifinals en route to the national championship game.
Still those around her and the Louisville program knew how talented she was way before the stunning upset last season. Schimmel's life was featured in the 2011 documentary ''Off the Rez''. The Native American star has inspired a generation of young girls. Schimmel and her sister Jude are constantly signing autographs and taking photos postgame with young fans whenever they are on the road.
Earlier this season when the Cardinals played at Oklahoma in the preseason WNIT championship game, a few hundred Native American fans showed up. The sisters spent an hour postgame with their adoring fans.
The further Louisville goes this year, the more attention will be on Schimmel and that's just fine with her.
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