The Lady Bears had a great regular season. Kim Mulkey and her ladies earned their fourth straight Big 12 Regular Season Championship and will begin the journey to another Big 12 Tournament Championship today at 1:30 versus Kansas.
The official Big 12 regular season awards are already out and the duo of Sims and Davis brought home a combined seven awards. Surely the awards for the Lady Bears won't be limited to just the Big 12. There are many, many other national awards out there. I am going to try to summarize the main ones and include the players who are in the running.
Naismith College Player of the Year
The big one. This award is the most prestigious award in women's basketball and is currently held by none other than former Baylor standout, Brittney Griner. Naturally, the dominant Odyssey Sims is on the short list for the Naismith CPoY Award. The semifinalists have been announced; the voters of The Atlanta Tipoff Club will select four players from the list to be named finalists. The winner will be announced at the Naismith Trophy Presentation on April 6th.
|Jewell Loyd||Sophomore||Guard||Notre Dame||ACC|
|Maggie Lucas||Senior||Guard||Penn State||B1G|
|Kayla McBride||Senior||Guard||Notre Dame||ACC|
|Odyssey Sims||Senior||Guard||Baylor||Big 12|
Fittingly, the three UConn players who will be representing Team USA along with Odyssey Sims are on the short list for the Naismith. Not surprisingly, every team represented on this list is currently ranked in the top 11.
I'll be the first to admit that I have not watched near as much Women's Basketball this season as I would have liked to, so the following prediction might be completely wrong, but that's the great thing about predictions, it doesn't matter if they're right or not! In my opinion, the final four for the Naismith award will be Sims, Dolson, Hartley, and Schimmel.
Schimmel currently averages 16.9 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, and 3.7 assists per game. Hartley is averaging 16.6 ppg, 3.71 rpg, and 4.19 apg. Teammate Dolson has 12.4 ppg, 9.10 rpg, and 3.39 apg (she's almost average a double-double; that's impressive). However, if the award were based purely on these three stats, Sims would run away with the honor. Sims is averaging a massive 29.6 ppg, along with 4.5 rpg, and 4.8 apg.
ADDED: Following the suggestion of Nate P (@NateP_SBN), who knows infinitely more about Women's Basketball than I do, I've decided to add Ogwumike, Stewart, and Loyd to the comparison list. Ogwumike is averaging 26.7 ppg, 12.03 rpg, and 1.6 apg. Stewart has 19.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg, and 3.1 apg. Loyd narrowly edges out teammate McBride with 18.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 2.4 apg.
Based on my newly enlightened view, I'm changing my top four to Sims, Ogwumike, Stewart, and Dolson. From a purely statistical standpoint Sims and Ogwumike are the top two players in the nation. I think the UConn players suffer a little bit because there are just so many outstanding players on that team.
From my (biased) perspective, there is no way Sims should not win this award. The Lady Bears lost one of, if not the, best women's college basketball player of all time in Brittney Griner and went into the season with a bunch of talented, yet inexperienced players. Sims put the team on her back and led them to a Big 12 title. The same cannot be said about the UConn or Louisville players. UConn has three outstanding players and a roster that did not change all that much from last year. Louisville doesn't have quite the talent that UConn has, but last year's team remained, for the most part (still angry about that loss...).
We'll see on March 21 if my predictions for the finalists are correct. Hopefully, the judges make the right choice and give Baylor the chance to take the award home for the third year in a row.
The Wade Trophy
Another national player of the year, The Wade Trophy is presented by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Currently in "watch list" mode, the list will be trimmed down to 12 finalists in mid-March, with the winner to be announced on April 7th. Naturally, Sims and the other three ladies mentioned above are on the watch list. Griner won this award in 2012 and 2013.
John R. Wooden Award
Third of four national player of the year awards, the John R. Wooden Award is named after the legendary UCLA coach. The Wooden Award ballot has been announced and, as expected, Sims, Schimmel, Dolson, and Hartley are all on this list. Sims and Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike (had to triple check the spelling on that one...) are the only players on the watch list that were named to the 2013 Wooden Award All American Team. The Wooden Award winner will be announced at the Wooden Award's Gala on April 10-12. Griner won this award the previous two years, as well.
AP Player of the Year
Oh look, another award Griner won the last two years. I couldn't find a watch list or a date for when this award would be announced, but you have to think Sims is on the list.
Odyssey Sims picked up yet another award yesterday, the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award. The award is given to "a female college player, 5-8 and under, who's shown prowess both on the court and in the classroom." Sic 'em Odyssey!
For whatever reason, I cannot find much information on the various U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USWBA) awards (the information likely has not been announced yet). Here is a list of the various awards the USWBA gives out. Like I said, there is no finalist list as of yet, but Baylor fans should expect Sims, Davis, and Mulkey to be on the various lists.
There are a plethora of awards and one can hardly hope to cover all of them. The large number of awards means that Sims and co. have more chances to win! Many of the national awards will be announced following the conference tournaments and/or the Final Four. I'll be sure to keep y'all updated.