An epic matchup in the backcourt is always a fascinating story line. When a pure athlete meets another, leader vs. leader, veteran against veteran, there is an electric buzz of excitement that surrounds the game. Almost like an intangible force has taken hold of the arena because everyone knows that greatness is imminent.
That's exactly what is going to happen when Tiffany Bias and Odyssey Sims clash in Gallagher-Iba, both with the same goal in mind.
The pursuit of a Big 12 Championship.
The coming battle has seen a steady evolution since its birth. Both Sims and Bias showed a promise to lead their repective schools from the day they stepped foot on campus. Since then, the two have challenged each other, pushed to not only see their team to victory, but to enhance each's game to the next level.
Now, in the senior season, this epoch is reaching its end. But the last few meetings look to be the exclamation point to one of the most competitive, high-talent rivalries in the Big 12. By breaking down the numbers, it's easy to see why this is going to be must-see basketball.
Field Goal Percentage
This isn't that bad of a discrepancy, especially since Bias has taken 174 less shots than Sims (Bias is 91/214 while Sims is 185/388). Sure, this is a Skip Bayless-y type stat, but with the evolution of the point guard and his/her role, it's a stat that at least must be mentioned. A point's ability to score, especially while commanding the floor, is a deadly attribute. Did anyone else see Sims' 48 against West Virgina? It was absolutely filthy.
Of course, one can't mention field goal percentage without mentioning how the players are faring from three-point land. Bias is scoring a cool .333 from beyond the arc, while Sims is averaging a monster .443. The speed between these two is enough to fill an entire emergency room with broken ankles, but if the game comes to throwing up trips, the Bears would see things start to go their way.
Sims has gathered more overall boards than Bias (80 vs. 51), but when broken down to each end of the floor, things look a little closer. Sims has 39 offensive boards, which could also contribute to the Baylor guard's shot attempts. Couple that with the fact that she is quick on her feet and can zip around defenders like a buzzing fly that always hangs around, it's easy to see how Sims averages 30 points per game. In comparison, Bias, averaging over 14 ppg, only has nine rebounds on the offensive end. While this may seem like a low number, Tiff has a greater tendency to dish the ball out for an assist and clear out of the lane so that her teammate in the post can do her work.
On the defensive end, things look a lot closer. Bias has pulled down 42 boards and Sims is just ahead with 49. Both ladies can easily slip past players for a sneak look to gather the ball, even with the small size of both guards. Honestly, on defense, both points are like that pesky mosquito at the lake: they're all up in your business and won't go away. They're just waiting for that chance to strike.
Slight advantage: Sims
Here's where things get really fun. After all, a point guard is still a prime facilitator on the floor. As mentioned earlier, Bias has a tendency to dish out when she's under the goal, resulting in two of her teammates joining her in averaging double figures. Her court vision is a thing of beauty, and she knows her teammates well enough to know when and where to attack.
Sims, on the other hand, plays a slightly different role. Think Russell Westbrook playing without Kevin Durant. While she has just as excellent a court vision as Bias, if Sims doesn't see an open opportunity for a teammate, she takes it upon herself to take the ball to the basket, and when she does, she usually scores. This category is about facilitating teammates, however, so:
It's been established that both Sims and Bias are extremely fast. And there's nothing a speedy player loves more than picking someone's pocket. The tactics of the two differ somewhat. Bias takes more of a "spy" approach, lingering, unnoticed. Like an elite level defensive back, Bias uses here speed and anticipation to effectively close down what may appear to be open passing lanes.
On the flip side of the coin, Sims uses her speed for a more overt theft. As we've seen with Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, she allows the ball handler to approach, anticipating a switch of hands or a momentary look away, then exploding through the ball. Although she's just as fast as Bias, Sims has a quicker "first step," and she uses that to her advantage. But, while Bias' sneak attack draws less attention, it produces greater results.
If we look at stats from conference games only, a similar picture is painted:
Bias and Sims each lead the conference in several categories, and are #1 & #2 in 3pt%. But one stat stands out as a potential big advantage for the Cowgirls.
Sims is responsible for 43.2% of Baylor's average points per game (76.0). Bias is only responsible for 24.3% of OSU's average output (67.4). If Coach Littell and company can find a way to slow down Sims, the Cowgirls have a really good shot to win this game. OSU is definitely the more balanced team on the offensive end.
I could spend a week long series on the intangibles that are a positive for both players, but I dont have the time or the thesaurus to come up with more words to describe these two one-of-a-kind athletes. Alas, this will have to do. In any case, one can see the talent Bias and Sims possess, with an absolute, pure passion for the game of basketball. And if both are on their A-game, we'll all be in for an exhibition of the rarest kind. Athlete vs. athlete, leader vs. leader, talent vs. talent. And at the end of this journey, fans will know that they've witnessed greatness at a level often not seen.