By Rayne Brown
Baylor senior guard Odyssey Sims was 2013 World University Games MVP, three-time Wade Watch list candidate and participant in the USA Women’s National Team mini-camp.
The World University Games are equivalent to the Olympics for collegiate athletes and Sims had the opportunity to play for Team USA at this summer’s games in Russia.
“The team that I was on, I was surrounded by, it was great,” Sims said. “If I could go back, I would. It was a great experience. Anytime I could go and play for USA, it’s always a great opportunity.”
Sims didn’t just play, she helped lead the team to the semi-finals, doing enough during that time to win most valuable player.
“I didn’t know it had MVP,” Sims said. “That wasn’t my main goal to go out there and try to get it. I was just happy more than anything to win the gold medal. That meant more than anything to me. More than getting MVP, but I was very honored.”
Coming back to the States with experience, an MVP title and a gold medal, Sims was invited to the USA Women’s National Team mini-camp Oct. 3-6 in Las Vegas.
According to an article on baylorbears.com, “the camp [was] used to identify players for the USA National Team pool from which the 2013 USA World Championship Team will be selected.” Sims attended the camp along with former Lady Bears Brittney Griner and Sophia Young.
“I was kind of nervous being around all of these WNBA players that I actually look up to,” Sims said. “Tamika Catchings, she really helped me. She guided me every day I was there. She told me what to do. Looking up to them, seeing what they were doing and then trying to incorporate it. I kind of took leading a lot better than I had been doing since I’ve been here.”
Most recently, Sims was named one of 25 players to the “Wade Watch” list for the award. This is Sims’ third season on the preseason watch list. The Irving native was a finalist for the award in 2013, but lost to teammate Brittney Griner.
“Let me say this about Odyssey, Odyssey Sims has always been a talented player, and she’s won many, many awards,” head coach Kim Mulkey said.
“She’s now won a championship. Probably one of the greatest moments in my coaching, even though it was one of the worst moments, was the Louisville game and watching Odyssey Sims basically almost win that thing by herself,” head coach Kim Mulkey said.
“She gave everything she had and when the game was over. You always tell them, if you’ve given it everything you have you don’t even have energy to walk off that floor and she didn’t. When she walked off that floor, finished crying and the locker room was settling down a little bit, she just walked straight up to me put her arms out and said, ‘Coach I gave you everything I had—and she did,” head coach Kim Mulkey said.
As the Lady Bears move into their third week of practice, Sims is preparing to take on a leadership role as one of the few players left with her level of experience.
The Lady Bears lost some seniors after last year’s season, but this season they’re back with fresh talent.
“I’m just very excited just to go into this year,” Sims said. “No one knows what to expect as far as from us, and we are very young, but our talent is still there. We did lose a lot, but we also gained a lot with the five freshmen that came in.”
This season, Sims has a lot on her shoulders. Only time will tell how the Lady Bears adjust with some of their key players gone and freshmen talent still learning the ropes.
The outlook is positive and Sims’ experience in all that she’s accomplished and participated in can help lead the team.
“When you’re still ranked in the top 10 and you lose as much as we did, I think people outside of Waco will talk about Baylor, the program,” Mulkey said. “The fun thing for me, though, is when people outside of Waco talk about Baylor now, they’re not just talking about women’s basketball and I have loved every minute of it. I just think that winning is contagious and I’ve always thought that Baylor was a sleeping giant.”