Because she hates seeing other players do it, Napheesa Collier tries hard not to complain when she's hacked without a whistle or called for a foul despite no contact.

"First of all, officials are the way they are," the Lynx All-Star said Thursday on the eve of the team's home opener against Seattle. "It's like talking to a brick wall. It causes me pain when I get caught up in it."

Perhaps because Collier learned the WNBA ropes under the nurturing wing of Sylvia Fowles, Collier will deflect questions about what someone with her talent, her All-WNBA status and her Olympic spot can do next.

"I'm focused on winning games," she said. "Because you can't win MVP if your team isn't winning."

Because it's safe to assume that Collier will do what she's done in her full WNBA seasons (she played only four games in 2022 after giving birth to her daughter, Mila), there is reason for optimism for Lynx fans.

The sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Collier earned WNBA Rookie of the Year honors that season. Her numbers have grown every year until 2023′s All-WNBA first-team selection: 21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.5 blocks, and fourth in MVP voting.

Where does Collier rank in the hierarchy of WNBA stars? Don't get Cheryl Reeve started.

"It's like she's the girl next door," the Lynx coach said. "Phee is not causing any trouble. She's doing everything the right way. Phee's the most likable, the least demonstrative. She's gotten MVP votes. She's been to the Olympics. She's not ignored when it comes to things like that. But where she in the league's promotion of its star players?"

Collier said she's OK. "I feel appreciated in the organization," she said. "I was on the last Olympic team, and I'll be on this one."

And besides, fame isn't the focus right now. Winning is.

In Tuesday's season-opening victory at Seattle, Collier turned in 20 points and 12 rebounds, after she had 11 double-doubles in 37 games last year. She was 5-for-5 on shots inside 5 feet, 1-for-2 on three-pointers. She blocked two shots and had a steal.

"The thing I didn't see — or didn't take heed of — is her ability to score at all levels," said Lynx newcomer Courtney Williams, who played against Collier for five years. "The way she sets screens, gets out of screens, makes tough shots."

Kayla McBride has been Collier's teammate for three-plus seasons.

"When I first got here, she was more high-low with Syl," McBride said. "When Syl left, she was more just post. But now she has extended it to the three-point line. She brings the ball up, especially in transition. She has become very secure with who she is as a player."

Collier's take on that is unique: "I know what I need to get better at from what becomes an insecurity on the court," she said.

From the start, Collier has worked on her handle. She is determined to become more of a three-point threat. But already her post play, her footwork, is elite. Her turnaround fadeaway midrange shot is unguardable.

She is already more assertive. During last year's 0-6 start, Collier was deferring too much. Reeve's message: Be more selfish. Over the next 12 games, nine of them victories, she averaged nearly 24 points a game and the Lynx rallied to make the playoffs.

"It helped me break through a wall, mentally," Collier said. "To be more aggressive. I know what I'm capable of."

In a word: more. Collier spent the offseason after 2022 — not going overseas — focusing solely on getting back to shape after childbirth. There wasn't time for anything but getting her body back on track.

This past offseason was different. Collier began working extensively with Susan Borchardt, a performance enhancement specialist who has worked with Team USA. A former Stanford star who played with the Lynx in 2005, Borchardt's method focused on functional training.

"I don't think I used weights for almost anything," Collier said. "It's using your body weight, working from the basketball stance and strengthening muscles from that stance. I feel stronger in my core and legs. I feel more explosive."

And more skilled. Able to play overseas and work on her game, Collier has gotten more confident in her ballhandling and long-range shooting.

McBride credits Collier becoming a mom with becoming a better leader. Bridget Carleton, another longtime teammate, has seen the growth.

"It's how vocal she is," Carleton said. "She's confident in what she's saying. She's an amazing player and has always been an amazing player. But it's her confidence. When she talks people want to listen."

And right now, Collier wants her play to do the talking. Because that will mean more victories, more success.

"As you live and learn, you become more confident," she said. "It's my sixth season. I know the game, how the league works. I know myself better.''