Two Lynx players are headed to Vegas! It was announced on Monday afternoon that both Sylvia Fowles and Odyssey Sims were selected as reserves in the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game.
While no Lynx players made it as starters (selected through a combination of fan, media and player voting), the recognition both received from WNBA coaches (who select the reserves) is a testament to the work that both have done this season both individually and in leading one of the WNBA’s best teams.
This will be Fowles’ sixth-overall All-Star appearance and third straight. Fowles has taken her game to new heights in the last few years, even as she has more and more become a focal point for defenses when facing the Lynx. On Sunday she became the all-time leader in WNBA double-doubles, just the latest milestone in a season full of them for Minnesota’s most dependable and efficient player.
While six All-Star appearances is a huge accomplishment, a first appearance is special as well. Odyssey Sims earned her first-ever All-Star nod this year, a recognition of a career season in which she is averaging 15.7 points and 5.4 assists. She sits at No. 8 in the WNBA in both categories.
There is no question that both Sims and Fowles deserve to appear at the All-Star game. Just Sunday night, Reeve talked at length about the impact both players have made on the team this year.
“It’s [Sims] and Syl that sort of make our offense go. I told [Sims], she’s just so hard to play against on both ends of the floor. That’s what I appreciate about her, she’s not a player that just plays offense,” said Reeve. “She makes us go. She really makes us go when she gets off that ball screen and creates opportunities for others to be open.”
It is fitting that Sims and Fowles were the two Lynx to make the team not just because they have been the team’s best two players throughout the first half of the season but because they play so well together. The chemistry between the guard and the center has grown by leaps and bounds since the start of the year and they feed off of one another’s successes. Sims has assisted Fowles on 28 buckets this year—far more than any other player—and Fowles’ screening for Sims has been a staple of the Lynx’s offensive game.
While it was always probable that Fowles would make the team as a reserve, seeing her not make the team as a starter was a surprise. A likely explanation for that is the consistency with which Fowles plays. Oddly enough, when people get used to seeing greatness, they tend to stop recognizing it.
Fowles fights double and triple teams on almost every possession, she anchors the team on defense, and she has learned to step up and become a vocal leader for this group as well. While that night-after-night consistency may allow Fowles to slip under fans’ radar, her teammates never cease to appreciate what she does for the Lynx.
“The things that she does, it’s because she’s so consistent with it that people don’t acknowledge it as much as they should, but the passes that she catches, the things she can do, defensively she can guard guards, I mean, she can guard guards on the perimeter!” said Napheesa Collier. “She catches the ball and literally drops in the basket. We just throw it up and she catches it, she’s really amazing. I don’t know how she does it.”
Luckily, the WNBA coaches have recognized the great work of Fowles and Sims and they will be representing the team in Las Vegas in a few weeks. While the season is far from over, both players deserve to take a moment and feel proud of themselves for earning one of the WNBA’s top honors. It is an extremely talented league and Sims and Fowles are among the best.