ATLANTA – Odyssey Sims, the 5-8 point guard for the Baylor University Lady Bears was announced Thursday as the 2014 recipient of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which is presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation's outstanding female collegian 5-feet-8-inches and under who has excelled both athletically and academically.
Sims, a senior guard and four-year starter at Baylor, is the nation’s leading scorer and has guided the Lady Bears program to a top-10 ranking, despite the loss of All-American standout Brittney Griner and several other key players to graduation at the end of last season.
The Irving, Texas native has earned a slew of honors during her career as a member of the Lady Bears program. Last season she was named to the Wooden All-American team, and on Thursday she was also announced as a finalist for this year's John R. Wooden National Player of the Year, as well as for this year's Wooden All-American team. She has also been watch-listed for this year's Wade Trophy and Naismith awards.
She was named as a WBCA All-American and U.S. Basketball Writer's Association All-American in 2012 and 2013, a 2013 Associated Press All-American first-team selection and the National Freshman of the Year by the USBWA. She was a finalist for the Wooden Award and the Wade Trophy in 2012 and 2013.
Sims is the fifth Lady Bears player to score 2,000 points and she is the program’s all-time leader in assists and 3-point field goals. Sims is averaging 29.6 points, 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds a contest while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free throw line.
Sims is active within the community as well. Throughout her four years she has visited local elementary schools, served meals at the local soup kitchen, visited pediatric units of local hospitals delivering stuffed bears and participated in packing meals to ship overseas.
The Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award is named in honor of basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith's daughter-in-law. A panel of representatives from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) selects the recipient. To earn the award, the recipient must demonstrate leadership, character, loyalty, all-around basketball ability and excellence in the classroom.
Sims becomes the third person affiliated with Baylor to win the award, which has been nicknamed "the point guard Naismith," to distinguish it from the Naismith Trophy, presented annually by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club to the men's and women's national collegiate player of the year regardless of height or position. Lady Bears' head coach Kim Mulkey was the first recipient of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith award in 1984 and Sheila Lambert was the 2002 winner.
“The Hall of Fame is honored to recognize Odyssey for her extraordinary efforts this season,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Odyssey is a natural born leader and a very exciting player to watch. She has proven herself a winner during her time at Baylor and we wish her the best of luck in the remainder of her season.”
Sims will be formally recognized during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel’s Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women’s Final Four® in Nashville.
Previous Winners of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award
1984 Kim Mulkey, Louisiana Tech
1985 Maria Stack, Gonzaga
1986 Kamie Ethridge, Texas
1987 Rhonda Windham, Southern California
1988 Suzie McConnell, Penn State
1989 Paulette Backstrom, Bowling Green
1990 Julie Dabrowski, New Hampshire College
1991 Shanya Evans, Providence College
1992 Rosemary Kisorek, West Virginia
1993 Dena Evans, Virginia
1994 Nicole Levesque, Wake Forest
1995 Amy Dodrill, Johns Hopkins
1996 Jennifer Rizzotti, Connecticut
1997 Jennifer Howard, North Carolina State
1998 Angie Arnold, Johns Hopkins
1999 Becky Hammon, Colorado State
2000 Helen Darling, Penn State
2001 Niele Ivey, Notre Dame
2002 Sheila Lambert, Baylor
2003 Kara Lawson, Tennessee
2004 Erika Valek, Purdue
2005 Tan White, Mississippi State
2006 Megan Duffy, Notre Dame
2007 Lindsey Harding, Duke
2008 Jolene Anderson, Wisconsin
2009 Renee Montgomery, Connecticut
2010 Alexis Gray-Lawson, Cal-Berkeley
2011 Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga
2012 Tavelyn James, Eastern Michigan
2013 Alex Bentley, Penn State
Source: Major portions of this story were provided in a press release from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.