Washington’s 92-66 victory on Sunday against Boise State might be seen as just another non-conference win by the 11th-ranked Huskies by casual observers. However, those in attendance at Alaska Airlines Arena became a part of Pac-12 history by watching a changing of the guard when it comes to the conference’s all-time leading scorer in women’s basketball.
Kelsey Plum, currently the nation’s leading scorer in women’s college basketball, moved past Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike to take the top spot and did so with a resounding 44-point performance, pushing her to 2,759 career points. That effort matched her season high and reinforced her importance in having made the Huskies a threat within the Pac-12. Plum needs needs 257 more points to pass Cheryl Miller and crack the top-10 of the NCAA women’s all-time scoring chart.
In Washington’s only loss of the season, played at perennial powerhouse Notre Dame, Plum had her lowest scoring output of the season. However, that still resulted in a 22-point performance in the Huskies’ 70-61 defeat.
The 5-8 senior guard out of La Jolla, California began her rise to the top in 2013, scoring 23 points in a 10-point win over St. Mary’s. That somewhat nondescript beginning led to a prolific career that puts her on the path to the WNBA to join players like Sue Bird, who happened to be in attendance for Sunday’s game.
Prior to that, Plum’s high school career saw her in the lineup as a freshman at La Jolla Country Day High School. Starting slowly, she nearly doubled her scoring average as a sophomore, while also improving when it came to rebounds and assists. The rebounds may have dipped as a junior but her scoring average was boosted to 22.5 points per game.
All during these first three years, Plum’s defense was good enough for three steals per game. Yet her all-around ability was reinforced by the scoring punch she could provide, emphasized by her senior year effort in which she averaged 27 points per contest.
Plum’s first 11 games have put her on pace for her best season yet, which is saying something when looking at her track record. As a freshman, she averaged just under 21 points per game and, like her high school days, has managed to boost her numbers with each succeeding year.
Her 31-point scoring average for this year is one obvious sign that the trajectory of her season numbers are putting her on pace for her most memorable year yet. Another is the fact that after averaging 41 percent from the field during her first three years, Plum is connecting at a rate of 54 percent.
She’s not accomplishing this by simply driving in for layups, with her 43 percent shooting from long range evidence that she’s deadly from everywhere. That’s a marked jump from her three-season average of 36 percent in that category.
Plum's drive to the scoring record was also aided by her performance at the free throw line. An 88 percent average at the charity stripe has helped make her automatic as well as a Huskies legend.