Sims then starred at Baylor, which she helped win a national championship in 2012, and then professionally in the WNBA and overseas. As a pro, she has played near her hometown only once, in 2016 with the WNBA’s Dallas Wings in their first season after relocating from Tulsa.
So, when the opportunity to again play in the Dallas area, where she continues to call home, arose with Athletes Unlimited in 2023, she intended to take full advantage of such a great opportunity.
“Being at home is always a plus. I have family and friends coming to watch,” Sims said. “I have a lot of people in the stands. I’m excited just like they’re excited.”
Another reason she’s ecstatic over returning to AU and playing before friends and family at Fair Park Coliseum is because of the great experience she had during AU’s inaugural season of basketball in Las Vegas in 2022.
“Coming off year one, think everybody enjoyed themselves. Just to see familiar faces and new faces, I’m excited,” Sims said. “I think the talent level is a little better than what we had last year. I’m excited to see what these young ones can do that I’m not familiar with and of course to play alongside some of the seasoned veterans.”
Last season, she played 15 games and averaged 20.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.1 steals. Sims amassed 5,043 total points, sixth-most among all players and delivered two 30-point games.
Sims went 6-9 overall and was 1-5 as a captain but felt her previous experience as a captain would serve her well this time around. “This year, I’ve got a little more knowledge after going through it last year and being captain three times. I think I’ve kind of got the hang of it,” she said. “Last year being the first year, we were stuck on picking our friends, people that we know.
“Every captain has a different style of play and when you have a style you like, that’s the unique part, being able to pick the players that you want to play with, that you know can play how you want to play. Personally, I think I did a better job this year because I like to run. The team I have this (first) week, Team Orange, I’m surrounded with shooters, one through five. Even my bench, they can shoot it. I think that’s great.”
Indeed, her experience did serve her well as Sims led her team to a 2-1 opening weekend, which helped her secure the No. 1 captain’s position for Week 2.
This season, Sims is playing for the One Love Foundation, a national non-profit organization which seeks to end relationship abuse.
“Well, it’s all about relationships. Times are changing,” she said. “You hear a lot more about violence in relationships like physical altercations, verbal abuse. That’s why One Love is very important. It’s a great foundation because it teaches us all to love and to love each other from the standpoint of we’re all human and have things going on but how to deal with anger, depression, sadness. There’s a way to deal with it when you’re in a relationship and of course when you’re by yourself.”
When asked what impressed her most about year one of AU Basketball, Sims cited those working behind the scenes to make the league such a great destination for top players like herself.
“Credit to the AU staff, they’ve done a great job all-around of making sure we have everything we need, that we’re taken care of. We always have somebody we can reach out to for anything,” she said. “That’s always a plus. The staff is amazing. I’m loving what they’re doing with AU and hope they keep it in Dallas for years to come.”
Basketball has been central in Sims’ life for as long as she can remember, but there is another sport she enjoys, bowling, an activity also known to bring out her celebrated competitive fire. “I’m competitive in everything I do. I hate to lose. I’ve been competitive since I was young,” she said. “Bowling is therapeutic to me. I enjoy going with my friends. It’s fun to do something different outside of what you normally do.
“We play basketball all day all year around, so it’s nice to do something like go to the movies, go to Main Event. I have a two-year-old son [Jaiden]. He keeps me busy, but when it’s warm outside I take him to the park. Yeah, just anything I can do to just relax, have fun, and be around the ones I love [is great].”
Stephen Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.
WNBA League Pass to broadcast 2023 Athletes Unlimited Basketball Season
© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Basketball Season 2: Meet the Week 2 Teams
© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: MK Ridgway
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