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Percy Allen | Seattle Times | December 12, 2016

Washington's Kelsey Plum scores 44, becomes Pac-12 all-time scorer

  Washington's Kelsey Plum became the Pac-12's all-time leading scorer on Sunday.

Admittedly, Kelsey Plum didn't have a whole lot of fun Sunday while breaking the Pac-12 women's all-time scoring record.

"I'm just glad it's over," said the Washington senior who has compiled 2,759 points — more than anyone in the 30-year history of the conference. "We can move on now."

The record fell on Plum's free throw early in the third quarter of Washington's 92-66 nonconference victory over Boise State at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Plum tied her season high with 44 points and the No. 11 Huskies needed every score she could muster to pull away in the fourth quarter and hand the Broncos (8-1) their first defeat.

Perhaps the hype and attention given to Plum's pursuit of the Pac-12 record partly explains why the Huskies had a little bit of trouble dispatching of Boise State.

"Before the game I was struggling a little bit," Plum said. "I'm not going to lie. Sometimes it kind of takes the fun out of the game when people talk about this record.

"I was a little dismayed. And then I saw my family in the stands and they surprised me. They flew out from California and to me that made it all better."

The entire Plum clan, with the exception of her sister Lauren who is playing basketball in Germany, watched their first UW game this season.

"I had no idea they would be there," Plum said. "That calmed me down and helped me focus."

RELATED: Women's basketball AP Top 25

Plum entered Sunday's contest needing 23 points to pass former Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike and take the top spot on the Pac-12's career scoring list.

She tied the mark late in the second quarter with a free throw that gave UW a 44-25 lead at halftime.

Anticipation inside Alaska Airlines Arena grew at the start of the second half. The crowd of 2,028 groaned when Plum missed her first two shots to start the third quarter.

But UW fans, which included Seattle Storm star Sue Bird and Seattle Reign FC standout Megan Rapinoe, cheered when Plum drew a foul at the 8:38 minute mark.

"I was laughing because all I heard was Chantel [Osahor] say 'You better not miss these free throws,'" said Plum, who is shooting 90.8 percent at the free-throw line this season. "So I knew at that point. And I was laughing. ... But I think it was kind of cool to have it at the free throw line."

After knocking down both foul shots, the crowd exploded in applause.

Plum isn't one to reflect — at least not right now — on being at the top of a list that includes the best who have ever played the sport such as Lisa Leslie and Candice Wiggins.

UW coach Mike Neighbors said Plum's record-breaking performance is a testament to her tremendous work ethic.

"She's continued to be consistent," he said. "She's continued to be doing it in the flow that we need to win games and I'm super proud because every kid in the world should look at her and see that hard work and focus and sustained focus can pay off.

"She's not going to be in the CrossFit games and she's not 6-foot-5 and she's not got something that the rest of us don't have. She's just honed an ability and honed a mindset and stayed consistent to it over a prolonged period of time."

Plum's ascension to the top of the Pac-12 scoring list has coincided with the Huskies' rise as a conference powerhouse.

Sunday's 26-point win — its seventh straight victory—- was the first time during the streak that UW didn't win by at least 30 points.

Led by Marijk Vanderschaaf (16 points) and Shalen Shaw (10), Boise State trailed 56-46 with 3:13 left in the third quarter and was down 64-50 heading into the final frame.

The Huskies put things away with a 21-7 run to start the fourth.

"We got stops that led to us getting back in transition," Neighbors said.

Plum capped the spurt with a three-pointer from WNBA range to tie her season-high scoring mark. She converted 15 of 26 shots, including five of 12 3-pointers and all nine free throws.

She also finished with a personal-best tying nine rebounds, five steals and four assists to offset four turnovers in 39 minutes.

The only blemish for Washington was senior Chantel Osahor played just six minutes after suffering what appeared to be blow to the head. She had her nine-game streak of double doubles snapped.

Without their star center, the Huskies leaned heavily on freshman guard Aarion McDonald who had 21 points in her second start. Senior forward Katie Collier chipped in 10 for Washington, which improved to 10-1.

Washington has three nonconference games remaining before its Dec. 27 Pac-12 opener against Washington State.

For Plum, Sunday's game served as a precursor to the pressure that will build as she hones in on the NCAA scoring mark of 3,393 set by former Southwest Missouri's Jackie Stiles in 2001.

"I wish at times we could focus on more important things," Plum said. "I know it's a part of the process and part of the territory, but for me as a basketball player it doesn't make it fun.

"To be honest, I was a little bit dreading this game. I'm glad it worked out the way it did, but it can be tough."

Pac-12 all-time scoring leaders

Kelsey Plum, Washington, 2,759

Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford, 2,737

Candice Wiggins, Stanford, 2,629

Chasing history

Washington senior guard Kelsey Plum moved past former Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike and became the Pac-12 women's all-time leader on Sunday. Plum is 635 points away from the NCAA all-time scoring mark.

1. Jackie Stiles, Southwest Missouri State, 2001, 3,393

2. Brittney Griner, Baylor, 2013, 3,283

3. Patricia Hoskins, Miss. Valley State, 1989, 3,122

4. Lorri Bauman, Drake, 1984, 3,115

5. Jerica Coley, Florida International, 2014, 3,107

6. Rachel Banham, Minnesota, 2016, 3,056

7. Elena Delle Donne, Delaware, 2013, 3,039

8. Maya Moore, Connecticut, 2011, 3,036

9. Chamique Holdsclaw, Tennessee, 1999, 3,025

10. Cheryl Miller, USC, 1986 3,018

25. Kelsey Plum, Washington, 2016, 2,759

This article is written by Percy Allen from Seattle Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network.


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