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Kelsey Plum makes NCAA Women’s Basketball history

The UW star dropped 57 points on Utah and became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Women’s Basketball history.

NCAA Womens Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Tournament-Washington vs Oregon State
Kelsey Plum showing her elevating abilities
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hello Dawg Fans! Welcome to the magical world of Washington Women’s Basketball. I’ll introduce myself quickly: my name is Wendy. I’m a lifelong Husky fan and a second-generation alumna. I was offered the opportunity to provide some very biased insight on the Washington Women’s Basketball program. Of course I jumped gleefully at the opportunity and here we are.

Let’s get to the subject of this article. Can you believe Kelsey Plum? If you are unfortunate enough to have missed THE greatest performance in Washington history, let me fill you in. On Saturday, Kelsey Plum dropped 57 points on Utah, and in doing this, became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Women’s Basketball history. Quite the title there! Kelsey took this record from the great Jackie Stiles of Missouri State University (1998-2001).

Saturday night’s game was a grinder as Utah gave us a fight. The referees were again Pac-12-worthy, but that might have been the difference. The Huskies were playing really good basketball, but couldn’t quite pull away from the Utes. At the end of the third quarter Kelsey Plum had 41 points; she needed 54 to break the scoring record.

Things were getting very exciting.

Two minutes into the fourth quarter, fellow superstar Chantel Osahor fouled out (a total BS call). That’s when Kelsey went off. She became one with the game and she scored every way possible: lay-ups, mid-range shots, pull-up three-pointers and, of course, free throws. She was unstoppable, and as I was watching, with tears forming in my eyes, I felt exalted. I was watching history being made. How often does that happen—watching a moment in time that will always be remembered?

Whenever a substantial record falls, there are always numerous comparisons. I’m not a big fan of this, especially when the record falls 16 years later. But we sports fanatics are a statistical libraries, so I may as well will feed the need for information. Let’s compare Jackie’s and Kelsey’s career totals to date.

Category Jackie Stiles Kelsey Plum
Category Jackie Stiles Kelsey Plum
Field Goals (FG %) 950/1784 (52.9%) 1089/2466 (44.2%)
Free Throws (FT %) 686/794 (85.1%) 888/1009 (88.0%)
3-Point Field Goal (3-PT%) 189/413 (43.5%) 331/864 (38.3%)

As you can see, both women have proven extremely efficient at their craft. Again, though, it’s so hard to compare in reality, because basketball has changed so much. Jackie accomplished her feat in 125 games, whereas Kelsey has played 135 and is still going. Let’s also consider all the rule changes. In 2011 the three-point line was moved from 19’9” to 20’9”. In 2015 the NCAA made major changes to the game: instead of two twenty-minute halves, women now play four ten-minute quarters. In the past, teams reached a one-and-one bonus on the seventh team foul of each half and reached the double bonus (two shots) on the tenth team foul. Now teams reach the bonus and shoot two free throws on the fifth foul of each quarter.

In the end it comes down to this: Kelsey Plum has made 3,397 points so far, and she is not done yet. Here is another interesting fact. Kelsey is just 270 points behind Pete Maravich’s record of 3,667 points. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if she could bypass Maravich? Don’t doubt her on this, she is quite capable. Actually, go ahead and doubt her. It is great motivation.

Speaking of motivation, here are the scoring statistics for Kelsey over her college career so far.

Category Freshman Year Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
Category Freshman Year Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
Field Goals ( FG %) 214/544 (39.3%) 235/544 ( 43.2%) 308/760 (40.5%) 332/618 (53.7%)
Free Throws (FT %) 203/240 (84.6%) 207/231 ( 89.6%) 266/299 (88.9%) 212/239 (88.7%)
3-Point Field Goal ( 3-PT%) 81/221 ( 36.7%) 69/173 ( 39.8%) 78/234 (33.3%) 103/236 (43.6%)

Her numbers speak for themselves, don’t you think? Kelsey came to the University of Washington already an accomplished shooter, but she got better. And between her junior and senior years, she got lots better. Lots and lots.

If you have yet to witness a Washington women’s basketball game, I recommend you get on it. There are at maximum ten games left for the Huskies, and hopefully they are able to play all ten. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to see them here at home, as the Pac-12 tournament is in Seattle. The tournament is March 2-5, and I guarantee there will be some very high-quality basketball played.

What this program has going is something special, and we may never see its like again. This team is a cohesive unit, and when you watch them you imagine that they are somehow magically connected. Kelsey maybe the focus of everyone’s admiration, but she was correct in saying, “This is an individual record, but it is broken by a village of people.” And what a village she has. We must not forget the other outstanding basketball players on this team: Chantel Osahor, Katie Collier, Heather Corral, Natalie Romeo, Aarion McDonald, Hannah Johnson, Mai-Loni Henson, Amber Melgoza, Kelli Kingma, Brianna Ruiz, Jenna Moser, Gigi Garcia, Deja Strother, and Mackenzie Wieburg.

I’ll leave you with this, fellow Dawg fans. From this point on, history will be made, for every point Kelsey Plum makes adds to her scoring record. My question to everyone who reads this: are you ready to be part of history?

I know I am.