With Odyssey Sims unavailable, Lynx sign rookie Evina Westbrook to hardship contract

The Lynx used another hardship exemption Thursday, signing rookie wing Evina Westbrook. This time, the spot came because of Odyssey Sims’ unavailability.

Sims didn’t travel to Indiana for Minnesota’s loss Tuesday for what was announced as a personal matter. On Thursday, Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said the point guard — signed last week just days ahead of the season opener — “won’t be available” for Saturday’s home game against Chicago.

Asked if Sims’ absence could be long term, Reeve responded, “don’t know.”

So, for now, Minnesota picks up the rookie wing. Westbrook was a late second-round selection by Seattle in last month’s WNBA Draft and, like many rookies in this age of roster crunch, didn’t make the Storm out of training camp.

Westbrook played a large role in helping UConn reach the national title game this spring. She averaged nine points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals for the Huskies in her final collegiate season.

Reeve noted that, given the situation the Lynx are in, “it sure seems like there will be opportunities.” Kayla McBride’s Turkish team is now one win away from its league title, meaning the guard could be in a Lynx uniform soon, but Minnesota is now without Sims and Natalie Achonwa, who is out “indefinitely” with a hamstring strain, and Angel McCoughtry hasn’t been a productive player to date.

Off to an 0-3 start, Minnesota could use Westbrook, or anyone else, to produce.

“You’re just trying to get a player up to speed as quickly as we can. We see a player, we always say this, well-trained, in terms of offensive concepts that are similar. She makes easy plays. We enjoy that,” Reeve said. “She’s tough defensively, she’s got an edginess about here. I think those things will help her in her time with us. And all you can do, when you’re given an opportunity, make the best of it.”

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