An All Star Odyssey
Odyssey Sims got off the plane on Saturday and heard the news. Her team was coming off one of their worst performances of the season in Atlanta on Friday night but the Lynx guard had plenty of reason to smile. Yes, it was her 27th birthday, but she also learned that she was chosen as a reserve for the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game, the first of her career.
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After getting off the plane, Sims’ first call was to her mother and her family. Her family couldn’t have been happier for her and told her that they believed in her all along. Sims did have to remind them that they had to keep the news quiet for a few days.
Through the first half of the season, Sims has done it all for Minnesota. Sims currently leads the team in scoring and hasn’t hesitated to leave her mark on their season. However, Sims has been more than a scorer, leading the team in assists per game and dishing out an impressive 29 percent of her team’s assists on the floor. While also being one of the team’s best rebounders, the defensive numbers have also been kind to her too.
Thanks to Sims’ strong start to the season, the Lynx sit with the third-best record in the WNBA as of Monday afternoon. Speaking to High Post Hoops about her all-star selection, Sims described herself as grateful and credited everyone around her from her coaches to her teammates for helping her earn this honor.
The Lynx guard cited Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles as two of her biggest mentors on the team. Sims says that she has turned to Augustus for tips on helping her become a better shot creator and Fowles for advice on how to get her shot off better. Fowles, in particular, has served as a voice on the floor for Sims while also using tactics like screens to free Sims up for better shots.
Sims first worked with Coach Cheryl Reeve with Team USA back in 2014. Since a trade reunited the pair, the two have developed a stronger relationship. Despite two years as rivals, the two women never lost respect for each other.
“I told her, ‘Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity and seeing what you can get out of me after my two years in L.A. and playing some, not starting some and to be here, and it’s so consistent,” said Sims.
“She talked to me at the beginning of the season, ‘Hey, I don’t know Seimone’s [Augustus’] status. If she plays, I’m gonna bring you off the bench. If she doesn’t play, you’re gonna start.’ She told me out of the gate what it was ‘cuz that’s something I haven’t had in my years before dealing with ‘I’m out of the starting lineup’ or ‘Hey, I only played five minutes this game.” Just to be here to flourish and take full advantage of this opportunity means so much to me.”
At the end of last season, Sims began to think down the road to free agency and where her WNBA career was headed. Now, Sims knows where she wants to be and hopes that she can retire as a member of the Lynx someday.
“’I told her, don’t ever get rid of me. Whatever you need, I got it.’ She’s funny, has a great personality, cracks jokes 24/7. You know, she gets on us of course I expect that but she doesn’t have any favorites” said Sims. “It’s more so, ‘I want the best for you. I get on you because I care. I don’t want you to not be who you can be here I got you for a reason. She’s very communicative, I like her energy.”
“I crack jokes, she cracks jokes about me; she’s still got a couple L.A. jokes here and there. I know it’s all love and respect.”
Sims didn’t arrive in Minnesota looking for a handout. She wanted a clearer role to better what to expect from night-to-night. Now, that she has it, she’s taking full advantage of that opportunity
“Cheryl told me from Day 1 ‘I got you as a scorer’ and I wouldn’t say I knew it, but I could finally get back to being me on the court. I think that’s helped me,” said Sims. “To be able to be in my first year with Minnesota, then be an all-star and play a lot of minutes and produce and lead the team in scoring, lead the team in assists, to make this team fun to watch– I can’t be any more grateful for this opportunity and take full advantage of it. I’m going to continue to do so.”
“Being an all-star is really sentimental to me, being my first time. I’m really excited but I give credit to Cheryl, assistant coaches. Everyone that’s developed me since I got to Minnesota telling me ‘You gotta attack more,`’drive and kick,’ do this, do that,’ said Sims. “I’m listening, and I’m learning, I’m still growing and for that to be something everybody emphasizes every time I come to work, it’s really helped me and shows up on the court.”
While Sims was looking for a home like she’s found with the Lynx, the team was looking for someone like her: unafraid to carry on the team’s winning tradition. To show her gratitude, Sims has earned her what is hopefully her first of many all-star appearances.
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