Los Angeles, Calif. – It was merely one free throw. However, it marked more than a single point in No. 9 Washington’s 87-74 victory over USC Sunday.
Kelsey Plum’s shot at 2:04 left in the first quarter moved her into second place on the NCAA Division I all-time career scoring list. The All-American senior guard finished with 35 points to put her at 3,315 – 78 short of tying the 16-year old record of Jackie Stiles.
After the game, Plum headed to the nearby studio of ESPN Los Angeles for an on-camera interview, where she talked about breaking the record.
Husky center Chantel Osahor also had a big day against the Trojans, with 16 points and 12 rebounds for an NCAA-leading 24th double-double. She also became the program’s all-time rebounds leader.
The game was tightly contested in the first quarter, with both teams trading baskets throughout, which resulted in four lead changes and four ties. Plum laid the ball up with a minute to go, and USC scored the next four points to take a 26-22 lead into the second period. But the visitors outscored their opponents, 32-9 in the next quarter, to take a 54-35 lead into the locker room.
The Trojans closed the gap twice in the final two periods, but the Huskies went on a run in the fourth quarter to put themselves out of reach.
Washington coach Mike Neighbors acknowledged his team’s slow start, but said they rose to the occasion at the right time.
“We really cleaned some things up defensively in the talk in between the (first and second) quarters,” Neighbors said. “We needed everyone of those to answer the run when they came out in the third quarter.”
Minyon Moore led the Trojans with 20 points, Kristen Simon had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Aliyah Mazyck had 15 points. The team is now 14-13 overall and 5-11 in conference play.
USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke was happy with her team’s energy, despite the loss.
“We played really hard, but Washington is Washington and you give them a little room and they have a 32-9 run in the second quarter,” she said. “But I thought we bounced back really well. and just played our hearts out. We executed really well, but I thought we had a couple lapses that really cost us.”
Before tipoff, the Trojans honored seniors Courtney Jaco, Jordan Adams, Alexis Loyd and Ivana Jakubcova in a ceremony. Simon, a junior, was also teammates with Jaco in high school, and said she has been a role model.
“Just to watch Courtney grow as a player and a person – I’ve always looked up to her,” Simon said. “Ever since we’ve been young, she’s never been one to give up, she’s always persevered. She’s always going to give you everything she has. It’s amazing to see her do that, because that’s hard on a consistent basis. It means a lot to me.”
Simon wore jersey No. 1 – Adams’ number – to represent her on Senior Day. Adams, a fifth-year senior, suffered a torn ACL in November and has been unable to play. Simon said she was happy to wear her teammate’s number.
“Being able to give something to Jordan personally – she’s a great person and I love her to death,” Simon said. “She does everything for us. It was to give her confidence because she’s been a rough couple of years.”
Sunday’s loss now brings USC’s record to 14-13 overall and 5-11 in conference. They head to Arizona next weekend for their final two regular-season games. The Pac 12 Tournament begins March 2 in Seattle.
Sue Favor contributed to this report.