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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.