Symone Simmons forces opponents to make difficult decisions, but she makes things easy for Wright State University women's basketball coach Katrina Merriweather.

The 5-foot-10 guard gives Merriweather several options when she takes the court. That ends up giving the opposition fits, as it must decide how to neutralize Simmons' wide-ranging abilities.

The 2015 Westerville North High School graduate completed a sophomore season for the Raiders in which she averaged 9.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals. Those numbers make Merriweather excited for what the future may hold.

"I call Symone my X-factor," said Merriweather, whose team finished 25-9 overall last season and tied Green Bay for the Horizon League title at 15-3. "You didn't know if she's going to be shooting 3-pointers, getting rebounds or driving to the basket. She can give you a lot of options.

"Symone can do so many things. If she is missing layups, she can drop back and shoot 3s or she can go get the rebound. If she is having a bad all-around offensive game, she can sit back on defense. That's good to have."

Simmons has continued to make the adjustment to the college game. She saw her minutes jump from 16.6 per game as a freshman to 30.8 last season.

"The game's a lot faster, so you have to put in the practice and the hard work," Simmons said. "I learned my role on the team and what I need to do to help my team. My game has matured."

Simmons' highest-scoring game came against Central Michigan in the opening round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament last season. She had 20 points, seven rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot in a 66-64 victory March 16 over the Chippewas, but the Raiders lost to Michigan 71-66 in the second round two days later.

"Symone has a good mid-range, pull-up shot and she makes 3s," Merriweather said. "She has long arms and does a tremendous job of rebounding. She plays well on both ends of the court.

"She has come to realize that when you can do everything on the court -- and I mean everything -- you are more valuable than if you only do one thing. Her growth from one year to the next has been fun to watch."

Simmons also had 13 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in an 84-63 league win over Cleveland State on Feb. 16. She had 17 rebounds in a 63-48 league win over Valparaiso on Feb. 9.

"Rebounding is my favorite part of the game," Simmons said. "I feel like when I rebound, I can help the team get more shots.

"Scoring is important, but defense is the key. If you have good defense, the offense will come automatically."

As a senior at North, where she was a four-year starter, Simmons was honorable mention all-district in Division I and first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division. She averaged 14.0 points and 8.6 rebounds.

"At North, I learned about talking and being able to communicate what is going on when you are on the court and being a team player," Simmons said. "This summer, I'm working out to prepare for the season. We have a really good team, but we have to continue to make strides and keep getting better."

Merriweather is excited to see where Simmons will take her game this winter.

"It's hard to pick an area of improvement when she already does everything (well)," Merriweather said. "I guess I would like to see her develop a more consistent jump shot to where we will be going to her at the end of games. I was really excited when we were able to get her. She's a special kid."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen