The night started with such promise. In Louisville, Kentucky, Jude Schimmel and a group of friends gathered around a computer watching the 2015 WNBA Draft unfold at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Indian Country gathered around as well, sending good thoughts and prayers out for Schimmel (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla), who was projected to be selected late in the third round by the Phoenix Mercury. But when the 36th and final pick was announced, the Mercury chose to go with Arizona State’s Promise Amukamara.
“I was keeping my fingers crossed,” Schimmel told ICTMN.
A year ago, Jude’s sister Shoni became the first Native selected in the first round as the eighth overall pick of the Atlanta Dream, and there was a moment of hope late in the third round when Atlanta went on the clock with the 34th selection overall that they would reunite the Schimmel sisters. But Atlanta chose Lauren Okafor of Providence.
“I got into sports administration because I thought I wanted to manage my sister,” said Jude, who is working on her master’s degree in sports management. “I wanted a better understanding of the political and the financial part of the WNBA, regardless if I am a professional athlete or a manager. I thought I might take my sister’s career as my own. Trust is a big thing out there, and it would set us both up for success.”
In her four years at Louisville, Jude had 711 career points, 221 steals, and a team-leading 392 assists during that span. The 5-foot-6 point guard ranks seventh in career steals and 10th in assists at the school. She closed her career with three-straight double-digit scoring efforts in the NCAA tournament. She finished her season with the Cardinals as part of a senior class that is winningest in Louisville women’s basketball history (112-31).