By JOEL CARLSON
As reticent as she is, Montana’s Alycia Sims will gladly allow the following to speak for her: The junior forward was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week on Tuesday for her role in last week’s wins over Sacramento State and Portland State.
Sims averaged 23 points on 63.3 percent shooting and 15.5 rebounds as the Lady Griz snapped a four-game losing streak with a 90-83 victory over the Hornets and a 76-57 win over the Vikings.
It was the first time in her career Sims, who received the same accolade on Monday from College Sports Madness, has earned Big Sky Player of the Week honors.
“Alycia had some good scoring games last year and has had some good games shooting the ball this year, but nothing like last weekend,” said coach Robin Selvig. “She was feeling it, and she got a lot of good looks, which is a credit to the team.”
How big of a week was it for Sims? Consider this: Nearly 90 games into her career, she set new career highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and minutes played.
It began on Thursday when she put up 17 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, all career highs at the time, against Sacramento State. Which was just a prelude to Saturday’s masterpiece.
With Montana playing without an injured McCalle Feller, Sims more than filled the void, hitting 13 of 17 shots and scoring 29 points. She also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds, dished out three assists and blocked a career-high three shots.
It was the third double-double for Sims in the last four games and gives her five straight games with 10 or more rebounds. Her rebounding average of 9.6 ranks second in the Big Sky behind Portland State’s Cici West, who averages 9.7.
February 4th, 2016 – Dahlberg Arena – Missoula, Montana. Photo Courtesy of UM Sports Information.
Thirteen of Sims’ 31 rebounds last week came on the offensive end, a result of her ability to sense where a missed shot is going to go and her knack for getting there while other rebounders stand and watch.
“Even when Alycia doesn’t score, she does a lot of other things for us,” said Selvig. “She’s a much better rebounder this year. She gets freed up some because of how (Kayleigh Valley) is being played and takes advantage of it, but she’s also got a nose for the ball, which is a big part of rebounding.”
The question going forward is, will Sims be able to continue her increased contributions? They’ll be needed this week, with Montana going on the road and with Feller doubtful to return by Thursday. “Having some big games should really help Alycia’s confidence,” said a hopeful Selvig.