Pac-12 Feature: Osahor and Plum’s friendship reaches beyond the court
It’s a relationship built on honesty between two players who were never ones to pull punches in the first place.
“She will say, I mean, anything from that was a bad shot, to that’s not a cute outfit,” said Washington All-American Kelsey Plum about teammate Chantel Osahor, while Osahor nodded in confirmation, smiling.
“You need people like that in your life.”
Especially when they can help you to get places you’ve never been. It was just seven months ago that Plum and Osahor were in Indianapolis at the NCAA Women’s Final Four, leading the seventh-seeded Huskies into uncharted territory in the national semifinals. Now, the Huskies prepare for the new season with Friday’s opener against Eastern Washington in Seattle.
Plum is the scorer, the unquestioned star who has a great chance of finishing her final season as the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer. She is a talker, on the court and off.
Osahor is the anchor, the post who earned the national spotlight with her unconventional style and fearless perimeter shooting and choice few words.
“With Kelsey, there’s no other person I’d rather play with by my side. No other person,” Osahor said.
Plum needs 320 points to take over the Pac-12 scoring record. She would need an extraordinary season (something close to 30 points a game) to threaten the NCAA scoring record.
Osahor, who became a breakout star during the Huskies NCAA Tournament run, said that Plum has given her game confidence in her own game. Osahor averaged 10.1 points and 11.3 rebounds a game last season and hit 40 3-pointers.
“There are times I’ve just been like ‘Why am I here?’,” Osahor said. “If not for her, I don’t know if I’d be here. So Kelsey means everything to me on and off the court.”
Plum said she can always trust Osahor to tell it like it is.
“Now that I’ve been able to have success, people tell you what you want to hear and she doesn’t,” Plum said. “She will tell you straight up. It’s something I’ve learned to appreciate and value and I look for it.
“On the court, she’s absolutely a warrior and you can’t put a price on that. I know Chantel Osahor is going to give everything she’s got and she’s going to fight.”
Plum said their bond will far out-last their college careers.
“It takes time. It takes chemistry. It takes fights. It takes crying,” Plum said. “It literally takes blood, sweat and tears to get there. So just that genuine love and respect for each other has brought us to a point in our relationship where she’s my sister and I’d do anything for her.”
Osahor can see even farther into the future.
“Our off-court relationship by far means more to me by far than our on court relationship,” Osahor said. “Our relationship will last a lifetime. She'll probably be at my wedding, so, yeah.”
Michelle Smith is a contributing writer for pac-12.com. She has covered pro and college sports for espnW, the San Francisco Chronicle and AOL Fanhouse.