Not many teams, if any, have been able to stop Washington senior guard Kelsey Plum during her standout collegiate career.
So it was no surprise that earlier this year Plum broke the Pac-12 Conference’s all-time women's basketball scoring record.
And after dropping 44 points, the fifth time this season she has done so, in a 99-77 win at Oregon on Friday, Plum is averaging 30.5 points per game 15 games into the season.
She is shooting 54.5 percent from the floor (151 of 277), 46.2 percent from 3-point range (54 of 117) and 91.1 percent from the free-throw line (102 of 112).
“She’s tough to stop,” said Oregon State coach Scott Rueck, whose No. 22 Beavers (12-1, 1-0) will play host to Plum’s No. 9 Huskies (14-1, 2-0) at noon on Sunday.
So are the Huskies, who, along with Oregon State, advanced to the Final Four last season, and are averaging 90.9 points per game this season.
“She’s good by herself, but they’ve got a lot of people going on that team," Rueck said. "It’s a very veteran team with weapons all over the court so they’ve got an inside presence, they’ve got outside presence all over the place.
“What I’ve seen of them is she’s making great decisions and so her decision-making on when to shoot, when to pass is the best it’s ever been.”
Sounds like a daunting task, but one the Beavers are excited for and one they have risen to in the past.
“It’s a great challenge, a great test, that’s what we all want,” Rueck said. “It’s going to be a real battle on Sunday and stopping her, and I don’t think you stop her but you slow her down like we have in the past, is something we’re all looking forward to that chance.”
The Beavers have had success keeping Plum at bay for the most part in her career.
After allowing Plum to score 27 and 26 in two games as a freshman, the Beavers have held her to 17 or fewer points in three of the next four meetings.
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In the other meeting, last year in Seattle in the regular season, Plum scored 30 points but 11 came in the final two minutes with the Huskies down by 16.
So how have the Beavers been able to be as successful as they have in slowing Plum?
Oregon State senior Gabby Hanson has received a lot of the credit for helping to slow down Plum the past couple seasons.
“I think going into it of course everyone knows how offensively talented she is, but I think the main thing, at least for me is I don’t go into a game thinking, ‘I’m going to keep her scoreless,’ ” Hanson said.
“Their whole offense is built around her so my goal is just to make every shot tough. If she makes it, great. At least I made it tough for her. But I’m not going to get down on myself because she scores or anything like that. If she has to work hard for every single one then I’ve done my job.”
Hanson credits the coaching staff for getting to know each opponent’s players’ tendencies and helping the Beavers know how to take away their strengths.
“Our defensive principles are made for stopping pretty much everyone on the floor no matter who they are,” she said.
That’s easier said than done against a high-scoring and balanced team. UW has four players averaging in double figures and six scoring 7.7 or more per game.
"It’s everybody against whoever has the ball and being so tight-knit and making sure we have perfect help, that we’re talking and just constantly communicating,” Hanson said. “It demands perfection, demands defensive perfection.”
While the Beavers lost four key members off the teams of the past few seasons, don’t expect a massive change come Sunday.
“Overall we’ve done a great job against them so far so we’re not going to change our schemes,” Hanson said. “We’re going to keep with what we’re doing.”