Louisville guard sisters Jude Schimmel, left, and Shoni Schimmel smile during a news conference for the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament final, Monday, April 8, 2013, in New Orleans. Louisville plays Connecticut in the championship game on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (The Associated Press)
Louisville guard Shoni Schimmel (23) shoots in the first half of a national semifinal at the Women's Final Four of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (The Associated Press)
Louisville head coach Jeff Walz and Jude Schimmel (22) talk on the sideline against California in the first half of a national semifinal at the Women's Final Four of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, April 7, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) (The Associated Press)
NEW ORLEANS – When Louisville's Shoni Schimmel whipped a behind-the-back bounce pass to younger sister Jude for a fast-break layup in the women's Final Four, fellow Native Americans were watching at gatherings on reservations nationwide.
One was former WNBA player Ryneldi Becenti on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. She says she was delighted by the free-wheeling style of play Native Americans know as "rez ball."
The Schimmel sisters chose Louisville in part because coach Jeff Walz has the patience to leave them in games when attempts at razzle-dazzle go wrong. But the sisters have done enough right to help the Cardinals pull off a string of NCAA tournament upsets en route to Tuesday night's national title tilt against Connecticut.
The Schimmels say they hope their success creates opportunities for other Native American athletes.