Kelsey Plum again at the center of Washington’s success

SEATTLE — Washington Huskies guard Kelsey Plum knows how to leave a final impression. Having already passed Jackie Stiles to become the NCAA’s all-time leading career scorer with 57 points on Senior Day, Plum broke another Stiles record with the first double-double of her historic career (38 points, 11 assists) in her final home game Monday. The Huskies dominated the Oklahoma Sooners 108-82 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row.

“This one was more special to me,” Plum said, “just because we won in the NCAA tournament, we kind of sent our fans off just with a lot of respect and appreciation for them. So I think that it was cool. The three seniors and coach, we had a moment right there when we subbed out. You just can’t say enough about this city, this university and everything it’s done for our team and me personally.”

Plum entered Monday’s game needing 20 points to match Stiles’ NCAA single-season record, set in 2000-01, when she led No. 5 seed Southwest Missouri State to the Final Four. Given that Plum has averaged an NCAA-high 31.6 points per game, that was something of a foregone conclusion. But she did it in impressive fashion nonetheless.

After a relatively slow start, Plum exploded after halftime, scoring 17 points in the third quarter. With 6:24 left in the period, Plum’s driving layup gave her 1,064 points this season, breaking Stiles’ record of 1,062.

By that point, Oklahoma was close to breaking too. Despite early foul trouble, the visiting Sooners had matched Washington shot for shot through halftime, though the Huskies led by seven, thanks to their more sure-handed ballhandling and a 13-3 edge in free throws made. But things fell apart in the third quarter, as bad shots and defensive breakdowns helped UW extend the lead to an insurmountable 23 after three quarters.

“We just lost our minds in the third quarter,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. “We started taking crazy-quick shots and forcing things and trying to make up for the mistakes that we just had, and they got in control. Washington took full advantage of every single time that we did that.”

The Sooners began the night trying to use the same game plan that had helped Stanford and Oregon beat the Huskies in Seattle this season (the Ducks at nearby KeyArena during the Pac-12 tournament) by daring other Washington players besides Plum to beat them. This time, they did.

Read More (via ESPN)

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