UConn is a dynasty and already seems like a lock to secure a slot in the national championship come April. But not even a record-breaking 91-game winning streak can overshadow the fact that some of the most entertaining basketball is being played on the West Coast by Washington senior guard Kelsey Plum.
After leading the Huskies to their first Final Four appearance in school history last season, Plum has spent the 2017 season dismantling defenses and climbing her way through the record books. Most recently, the senior became the 12th player in women’s college basketball and first men’s or women’s Pac-12 player ever to crack the career 3,000-point mark, doing so in a 36-point effort in a win over Arizona Friday night.
With 3,007 points, Plum ranks 11th on the all-time scorer’s list; she’ll need 12 more to eclipse USC great Cheryl Miller at No. 10.
The record was Plum’s second major milestone of the season, as she became the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer a month ago, surpassing Stanford great Chiney Ogwumike’s mark of 2,737. (Miller scored her 3,018 career points with USC from 1982-1986; the Trojans joined the Pac-12 starting with the 1987 season.) Plum blew past the conference record in style as well, scoring 44 points in a Dec. 11 blowout win against Boise State, a season-high for the senior, who also leads the starting five in field goal percentage.
Not that her 31.o points per game didn’t give it away, but the Poway, Cali., native is the total offensive package. Covering her one-on-one is a helpless battle for opposing defenders, as she breaks man and zone sets alike with her ability to either stretch defenses with a 44.3 conversion rate from long range or beat opposing guards on the drive, where she can finish at the rim or comfortably drain mid-range jumpers. She also dishes out an average 5.3 assists, tops on the team.
Do yourself a favor and make yourself familiar with her game before March gets here.
Washington’s victory over the Cardinal pushed the 8th-ranked Huskies to 17-2 overall and helped maintain their spot atop the Pac-12 with a 5-1 mark in conference play. Plum’s the clear offensive leader on the team; she’s flanked by a talented supporting cast, led by set-shot specialist Chantel Osahor. The 6-foot-2 senior has dominated the paint this season, snagging 13.5 boards per game, while her long range capabilities, paired with her work on the offensive boards help to score 15.1 points a night.
The team’s two losses came against a pair of ranked teams, then-No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 22 Oregon State—both teams exploited the fact the Huskies don’t boast a ton of dependable scorers down the depth chart and out-rebounded them a combined 91-65. Outside of their two losses, though, they’ve blown out the rest of the competition, having posted an average margin of victory of 30.0 points in the 17 wins.
These may not be the Huskies everybody’s expecting to win it all, but with an all-time great at the helm in Plum, it feels like Washington won’t have to wait long for its second career Final Four appearance.