Kelsey Plum surpasses Tina Thompson on Pac-12 scoring list in win over Colorado
SEATTLE -- Usually coaches want their team to move the ball on offense and find the open player. Dribble-drive. Penetrate and pitch. Pick and roll.
But when you have Kelsey Plum, sometimes your best offense is to just let her bring the ball up and dribble into a pull-up three.
That’s how the Washington junior guard got her 23rd, 24th and 25th points of the night on Thursday, allowing her to surpass USC legend Tina Thompson for seventh on the all-time Pac-12 scoring list.
Plum scored 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting to lead fifth-seeded Washington to a 67-51 win over 12th-seeded Colorado on Thursday night in the first round of the 2016 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament.
“I don’t think she made any wrong decisions tonight at all,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said after the game, elaborating on how Plum guided the team to victory. “Our pace was really good; our shot selection was really good. She got us in actions – she slowed us down, she sped us up and I thought she really controlled the pace of the game.”
Plum entered Thursday’s contest ninth on the Pac-12 scoring list with 2,226 career points, Plum also surpassed Washington assistant coach Adia Barnes, who is now bumped down to No. 9 with the 2,237 points she amassed at Arizona. Next on the conference list is former teammate Jazmine Davis – Plum needs 25 more points to surpass the Washington alum.
“When I first came to U-Dub and I didn’t know Jazmine well, I was just joking with her and telling her, ‘Just so you know, I’m going to break every record you set,’” Plum said. “[Davis] laughed and then looked at me and said, ‘Just as long as we win.’ I really took that to heart and I don’t look at [records] and I don’t pay attention to it. I just play aggressive and try to put the ball in the hole.”
Keep in mind that Plum still has one more year of eligibility after this season. If she continues along this pace, Plum will become the first 3,000-point scorer in Pac-12 history.
What impresses Neighbors most about Plum’s season is not just the numbers she is amassing, but that she is doing it against a high level of competition and leading her team to a 21-9 record in the process.
“I think that what is happening is something that is pretty remarkable – in a year that every coach in our league feels like is the best year the Pac-12 has had in a long, long time; maybe ever,” Neighbors said. “And for her to have the year that she’s having is pretty amazing.”
Washington fans held their breath in the fourth quarter when Plum doubled over in pain on the floor. Thankfully for the Huskies, she just bruised her thigh running off a screen and figures to be good to go Friday in the quarterfinals against Stanford.