Seattle, Wash. – Boise State came into Seattle undefeated and in first place in the Mountain West Conference. But nothing could stop Washington and All-American guard Kelsey Plum Sunday, from both a win and a Pac 12 scoring record.
Plum needed 23 points to become the conference’s all-time scoring leader, but she netted 44 in leading the No. 11 Huskies on a 92-66 rout of the Broncos. Freshman Aarion McDonald had 21 points in her second career start, after putting up 25 four days earlier, and Katie Collier added 10. Washington, now 10-1, has won seven straight.
Coach Mike Neighbors praised the work ethic of senior Plum, who crossed the 1,000-point career mark as a sophomore and is the NCAA Division I scoring leader so far this season, as she was most of last year.
“I’m super proud, because every kid in the world should look at her and see that hard work and sustained focus can pay off,” Neighbors said. “Because she’s not going to be in the cross fit games. She’s not 6-5. She’s just honed an ability and a mindset over a prolonged period of time. It’s amazing.”
Plum and sophomore center Deja Strother had to pick up the slack when center Chantel Osahor left the game midway through the first quarter after taking an elbow to the head. She did not return as a precaution. Strother tallied seven points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
The Huskies raced out to a 7-0 lead to start the game. But Boise State cut their host’s lead to just one, 9-8 with 6:32 left in the first period on a Yaiza Rodriguez three-pointer. Washington responded with a 15-5 run that Collier capped with a mid-range jumper in the final seconds of the period. They continued their assault in the second quarter with a 12-3 run and lead 44-25 at halftime.
Unlike most opponents Washington has faced this season, the Broncos did not wilt under pressure in the second half. In fact, they had a very impressive third quarter, where they outscored Washington 25-20. At one point they knocked down seven shots in a row, including three three-pointers.
Boise State had two players score in double-figures in center Marijk Vanderschaaf, with 16 points and five rebounds, and Shalen Shaw, with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Plum broke the record at the 8:38 mark of the third quarter as Plum stepped up to the line for two free throws. She had scored 22 points in the first half and was just one point shy of the mark when she calmly walked up to the line. With a smile, she knocked down both shots. Plum (2,759 points) now surpasses former Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike, who finished her career with 2,737 points.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” Plum said about the pressure to exceed the mark. “I’m not going to lie, sometimes it takes the fun out of the game when people talk about these records.”
“I was laughing because Chantel yelled from the bench ‘You better not miss these free throws!’ But I think it was kind of cool to have it happen at the free throw line.”
Washington pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Broncos, 28-16. Neighbors was happy with his team’s performance.
“Other than the Notre Dame game (the Huskies’ only loss), this was as good of a challenge as we’ve faced this year,” he said. “A quality team that hadn’t lost yet, and who were playing a very high level. Aari and Deja stepped up. We got contributions up and down the lineup and you need that against good teams.”
Plum was not hesitant to praise her teammates after the game.
“It was a complete team contribution from top to bottom,” she said.
Washington’s next game is Sunday, as they host Savannah State.