Head-To-Head: Whalen And Sims Continue Heated Rivalry

Before the Lynx face the Sparks on Tuesday night, we’re going position by position and taking a look at the matchups that will define the first-round playoff contest. First up, a pair of guards who seem to get under each other’s skin like nobody else can… 

The rivalry between Lindsay Whalen and Odyssey Sims has had its fair share of tense moments. The two guards have similar styles and similar dispositions. Both play with passion, both are extremely competitive and neither is willing to give an inch. Literally. It’s no surprise they don’t love each other.

This meeting, their matchup has an interesting twist to it. Both players might come off the bench. While the starters for Tuesday’s contest haven’t been announced, Cheryl Reeve has been using Whalen off the bench in the last few weeks (excepting her start against the Mystics), and Sims has been playing in a backup role for most of the season.

Both the Sparks and the Lynx seem to recognize the value of being able to strategically sub in players like Sims and Whalen. They immediately bring the energy and focus of their respective teams up and they both have the ability to turn in momentum-shifting plays.

By the numbers, the two guards have had very similar seasons. Sims averages 8.2 points, 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game. Whalen, on the other hand, averages 5.7 points, 3.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game in 19.3 minutes.

The thing is, Whalen and Sims are two players whose impact cannot be measured by the stat sheet. Both will play key roles in marshaling their teams, and while Sims is younger (this is her fifth season to Whalen’s fifteenth), both serve as important veteran leaders and emotional presences for their teams.

Don’t be surprised if you see Whalen and Sims going at each other on Tuesday night. Ever since Sims came into the league, she seems to have had a special desire to compete with Whalen, a more established player at her position. This will be the fourth-straight playoff matchup between the Lynx and the Sparks, a run that includes two WNBA Finals contests—there’s history here.

Read the rest of the series:

Seimone Augustus vs. Chelsea Gray
Sylvia Fowles vs. Candace Parker
Cecilia Zandalasini/Rebekkah Brunson vs. Nneka Ogwumike