Sykes makes the most of extra playing time
By Jameelah Johnson
More minutes, more production.
Following a loss to the Wings last week, Dream coach Nicki Collen said she wanted to get Brittney Sykes more playing time. A couple of days later, Collen did just that in a victory against the defending WNBA champs. The second-year player saw an increase in her minutes and was able to have more of an impact offensively.
When observing Sykes, her effort is never in question.
"That's just my mindset, whether I play two or 20 minutes, is just to go in and make sure they feel every second that I'm in," Sykes said.
Sykes, who averages 1.9 assists in her career, dished five in the win over Minnesota. She was shocked to find out she finished with that many dimes.
"Oh, I did? I didn't get to see the final stats sheet," Sykes said.
What's an underrated part of her game?
"That I can actually like, pass," said Sykes, who finished with zero turnovers in the win. "And I've had my struggles with turnovers. My turnovers with passing come from over passing. Those are my turnovers."
Collen inserted Sykes at the 4:26 mark of the first quarter and she immediately came off of a Elizabeth Williams screen to knock down a long two. Having Angel McCoughtry back in the lineup is the gift that keeps on giving and Sykes appreciates her return.
"So for me to come in and take some stress off of Angel, give Tip (Tiffany Hayes) some help, just come in, give that energy like I've been giving and just staying solid, whenever I'm on the court," Sykes said.
Later in the period, Sykes drove baseline, found Imani McGee-Stafford in traffic, passed through three defenders and caused Minnesota's Lynetta Kizer to rush back and foul McGee-Stafford. With nine minutes left in the first half, one of the best displays of ball movement came when Maggie Lucas tossed it half court to Monique Billings, who quickly passed it to Sykes on the perimeter. Sykes found Williams in the paint for an easy hook. Not only did she create opportunities for her teammates, Sykes also used her speed to score on the fastbreak.
Midway through the third quarter, Sykes grabbed the rebound, took the ball down the court, and then slung it to Renee Montgomery for the three. At the 4:31 mark in the third, the screen from Jessica Breland set up Sykes for the pull-up. Later, Sykes was double-teamed and passed it to Hayes for the three.
Her awareness of what the defense will do is another strength she recognizes.
"Because as an individual knowing my game, I know what's coming," Sykes said. "I know what I'm attracting. I know what they're trying to do to me."
Having teammates who are ready for the pass, whether it be in transition or on the postup, is a luxury Sykes does not take for granted.
"That's all I need. If you run with me, I will find you," Sykes said.