Washington’s Plum moves into 2nd place on career list
LOS ANGELES (AP) Washington guard Kelsey Plum’s postgame celebration Sunday consisted of hugs with family and friends, pictures with kids, autographs and then she was headed to ESPN’s nearby studios for a SportsCenter appearance, her second in two days.
Such is life for the nation’s leading scorer.
Plum scored 35 points to move into second place on the NCAA’s career scoring list and help No. 9 Washington beat Southern California 87-74.
Plum needed just three points to tie former Baylor star Brittney Griner on the list, and she hit a 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the first quarter to tie for second. Her free throw with 2:04 left in the first lifted her to second place behind former Missouri State star Jackie Stiles.
Stiles had 3,393 points, and Plum has 3,315. She needs 78 points to tie Stiles.
Asked about the list, she did what she always does in giving credit to the Huskies first.
”I was excited to get the win,” Plum said. ”USC had been playing great. We lost to UCLA on Friday so we knew we needed to finish strong this weekend. Any split in the Pac-12 is a good split. It’s an honor. I’ve watched a ton of these amazing women on this list growing up as a kid. Obviously, they’re some of the best people to play. It’s just really cool.”
Chantel Osahor had 16 points and 12 rebounds and became Washington’s career rebounding leader, finishing the game with 1,150.
Minyon Moore led USC (14-13, 5-11) with 20 points, and Kristen Simon had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
USC’s emphasis was on defending Plum.
”I thought we made it tough for Kelsey all game long,” USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. ”We doubled her when we could and it made sense. We had a player constantly shadowing her for her penetration. We had a couple defensive letdowns, and of course, Kelsey being Kelsey took full advantage of them. She’s just a fantastic player. We doubled her. We had a post player playing shadow defense and sometimes we let her get too deep. Sometimes, she’s really difficult to stop when she gets going.”
Plum had 20 points in the second quarter as Washington (25-4, 13-3 Pac-12) opened a 54-35 lead. She scored 39 points two days earlier in a loss to UCLA, giving her 74 points in Los Angeles over the weekend.
USC honored seniors Ivana Jakubcova, Alexis Lloyd, Courtney Jaco and Jordan Adams at the last home. Adams suffered a season-ending ACL injury in November, so Simon wore her No. 1 jersey to honor her.
”I just wanted to give something to Jordan,” Simon said. ”She’s a great person. She’s a great player. I love her to death. Just give her something to smile about and to see her number on the court made me feel good, like a leader. Made me feel something like Jordan. She does everything for us.”
Osahor has been so dominant on the boards and is the country’s leading rebounder. She is now the best to do it at Washington, too.
”It’s impacted winning,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. ”If you set records and it doesn’t impact winning, they’re hollow … The fact she’s been able to set records and elevate the level of play on our team. Anyone that has played the game knows rebounding is hard. It’s physical. You have to do it relentlessly. You can do everything right and still might not rebound it. She is persistent. She knows it’s her role. She really stars in her role.”
Washington let Plum go to work inside and outside, which was an effective game plan. The Huskies rebounded from its loss Friday at UCLA, which was just its third loss of the season.
USC couldn’t capitalize on an early lead against the Huskies but played respectably on senior night. The Trojans played well on offense in spreading the ball and had 16 assists.
Washington hosts Colorado on Thursday and Utah on Saturday in Seattle to close out the regular season.
The Huskies have clinched a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, but they’ll try to improve their seeding for the NCAA Tournament.
USC will try to finish the regular season on a strong note by traveling to Arizona State on Friday and Arizona on Sunday. It swept the Arizona schools in January at the Galen Center.