SEATTLE — Kelsey Plum saved the best for last.
The Washington senior entered her final regular-season home game Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena needing 54 points against Utah to pass Jackie Stiles as the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. Plum got there with a historic effort, scoring a school-record — men’s or women’s — 57 to help the Huskies beat the Utes 84-77.
Washington coach Mike Neighbors called it the greatest performance he has seen in Plum’s standout four-year career.
“Utah knew what we were doing,” he said. “They knew we were going to set a ball screen at some point in time and Kelsey was going to drive it — and you still can’t stop it. When you can do that, that is that zone that I’ve heard people talk about.”
After she scored 25 points on Thursday against Colorado, nearly six below her NCAA-leading average, it seemed more likely Plum would surpass Stiles during next week’s Pac-12 tournament, held across town at KeyArena. Instead, Plum blew away her career high of 45 points, set last year against Oklahoma, which was also the school record.
According to Plum, 57 is the most points she has ever scored in a game dating back to high school. Saturday, she hit 19 of 28 shots, including 6-for-11 shooting on 3-pointers and 13-for-16 at the foul line, to move her career total to 3,397, four more than Stiles’ mark.
“There’s not much you can do,” Utah coach Lynne Roberts lamented. “She’s obviously ridiculously good. We tried everything. She just kind of took over. When [Chantel] Osahor fouled out, it’s almost like she became possessed. Even as the opposing coach, you stand there and you say, ‘Holy cow.'”
Plum’s secret sauce? Applesauce. She has been feeling under the weather, and couldn’t wait to get back to the bench during timeouts to have more applesauce for sustenance. There, she was also getting updates from Osahor on how close she was getting to Stiles’ record.
“Chantel was like, I need eight more or something like that,” Plum said. “I knew my teammates wanted me to be super-aggressive. They just kept feeding me the ball and Coach kept calling my number. I wasn’t sure exactly pointswise, but I knew it was getting closer and closer.”
Read More (via ESPN)