UConn, Baylor, and the difficulty of containing Odyssey Sims

Highlights of UConn's 66-55 win at Baylor last night (via BaylorAthletics).

If you were evaluating Baylor point guard Odyssey Sims solely on statistics and waiting for last night's game against UConn to get a better sense of how good she is, you might have come away thinking that her gaudy numbers this season really have been inflated by a weak schedule (and a 4OT game against Kentucky).

Her game-high 20 points was also a season-low and she shot just 4-for-25 and all 10 of her free throw attempts came in the first half. Plenty of ammo for the skeptics in the boxscore of Baylor's 66-55 loss last night.

Then there's the context, which Jason Orts of the Waco Tribune described complete with a quote from UConn coach Geno Auriemma.

Sims, the nation's leading scorer at 31.8 points per game, put in a game-high 20. But UConn threw a multitude of defenses at her to make her work and take uncomfortable shots, and Sims went 4-for-25 from the floor and turned the ball over seven times..."We tried everything - we really did," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "Every imaginable defense that you can imagine that you can guard somebody, we tried it. But in the end, you've just got to hope she misses, because we couldn't keep her out of the lane. She got in the lane whenever she wanted. She's going to get her points. But I want her to work really, really, really hard, harder than she's worked all year to get those points. I thought we responded."

UConn certainly got her to work hard and it wasn't just by throwing the standard double team at her.

At times, UConn would double with a third player coming over to help the defender guarding her left hand. Sometimes, that double included running 6-foot-4 UConn star Breanna Stewart at the 5-foot-8 Sims. At other times, ultra-quick guard Moriah Jefferson shadowed and face-guarded her around the court (with everyone else keeping one eye on her). That she still managed to get open to hit a three to bring the Lady Bears within one point of the Huskies late in the second half was somewhat remarkable after all that she had been dealing with.

All that from by far the best team in the nation with one of the most disciplined defenses as a unit.

Even if Sims was terribly inefficient overall against a team that looks poised to go undefeated this season, defending a player like that is not something you see often - Sims is a special kind of dominant that we haven't seen from a guard in years.

TL;DR version: You can't stop Odyssey Sims, you can only hope to contain her.

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