Odyssey Sims will tell you her game has not changed.
Perhaps not. But the numbers have.
Sims, who made her first WNBA All-Star Game in her first year with the Lynx, appears to have regained the level of play that she started the season with, a combination of numbers that got her to Las Vegas for the midseason event.
After a recent four-game losing streak, the Lynx head into Friday’s game with Washington at Target Center — a daunting task against the league-leading Mystics, who have already defeated the Lynx twice this season — having won three of four.
One big reason: Sims.
With the return of Seimone Augustus at shooting guard, Sims moved to point guard in the starting lineup. That move by coach Cheryl Reeve also meant Danielle Robinson coming off the bench as the backup point guard, though she and Sims still play a lot together.
The result has been three wins and big numbers from both Sims and Robinson.
After shooting 30% and scoring 8.3 points per game during that four-game losing streak, Sims has averaged 15.5 points, 6.8 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 50% in the past four games, which included three wins by an average of 21.3 points. She is also getting to the free throw line more.
“Just doing what I do best,” Sims said. “Just trying to get into the lane, get some wins. Trying to make sure I stay aggressive on offense.”
Reeve says there is more to it.
“Her burst of speed is unbelievable, and she’s kind of gotten back to that,” Reeve said. “She’s playing in transition well, getting into small spaces in the pick-and-roll game. She’s creating by getting into the paint.”
Two games ago, in a loss in Washington, Sims scored 20 points with eight assists. It was her third game with at least 20 points and eight assists this season, the most by a player in franchise history.
Reeve said she and Sims talked about getting more aggressive after a relatively difficult month of July. “We showed her the opportunities,” Reeve said. “Also, she looks rested to me. This last road trip she looked really rested.”
The change also has worked for Robinson, who, coming off the bench the past four games, has shot 69% (20-for-29), averaging 11.5 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds.
Together the two have given the Lynx strong production from the point.
“Maybe there’s a little less pressure, maybe she’s being able to see the game a little bit,” Reeve said. “But she’s been very effective. Same thing, getting into the paint.”
Being able to play on a second unit with shooters like Stephanie Talbot and Lexie Brown to space the floor helps.
For Sims it’s just a return to her early-season form. She is averaging 14.5 points this season, after averaging 8.2 points for Los Angeles in 2018. That increase of 6.2 points per game is the second-biggest jump for a player in the league.
And now Sims, Robinson and the rest of the team will have to focus on a Washington team the Lynx will be playing for the third time in seven games. The first two ended in losses and the Mystics, atop the league standings, are one of the most offensively efficient teams in the league.
“We know what we have to do,” Sims said. “We’ll bring it.”