Plum made it a point early to get teammates involved. It worked: Natalie Romeo scored 20 points and Aarion McDonald had 18 in Washington’s 108-82 victory over Oklahoma.
Kelsey Plum is the star. Everyone knows that. She showed why once again Monday night, scoring 38 points in Washington’s 108-82 second-round victory over Oklahoma at Alaska Airlines Arena.
That from Plum feels pretty much routine at this point, doesn’t it?
What was unique against Oklahoma, and what surely needs to happen again if the Huskies are to advance to their second straight women’s Final Four, is the unexpected production Washington got from its role players.
No, junior guard Natalie Romeo probably isn’t going to go 6 for 10 on three-pointers every game.
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Freshman guard Aarion McDonald (18 points on 5-of-6 shooting) will probably face a more determined defense against Mississippi State in Friday’s Sweet 16 matchup.
And reserve Heather Corral probably shouldn’t expect to bank in all of her three-point attempts.
But when all of that does happen, when the role players “star in their roles,” as UW coach Mike Neighbors asks them to, well, that’s when it gets really fun for the Huskies — when the possibilities for this team seem boundless.
“I always say it all the time: When we can get (Romeo) and ‘Aari doing the stuff they did tonight, we’re unbeatable,” UW senior center Chantel Osahor said. “What they did … it’s something special to watch out there.”
Senior forward Katie Collier added eight points on 3-of-4 shooting with five rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes.
No matter what defense Oklahoma employed, it didn’t seem to bother the Huskies. They took 30 three-pointers. They made a season-high 18.
That’s a 60 percent clip, and that’s really impressive.
Give the Huskies those same 30 looks again, and Neighbors said they’d make 18 again. Maybe even 20.
Plum had a career-high 11 assists, making it a point early to get teammates involved.
It worked: McDonald had 13 of her 18 points in the first quarter. She has 33 points in the first two NCAA tournament games on 11-of-17 shooting.
Romeo had 11 by halftime on 4 of 7. She finished with 20 points in her best scoring game in nearly two months.
“I knew that from the (start) I just had to get my teammates going, get in the paint, find people,” Plum said. “Oklahoma rotates a lot, almost over-rotates, so Natalie was open on that back side multiple times. Just credit Aarion and Natalie and Heather late in the game just coming down and knocking down shots.”
They knocked ’em down Monday.
For the Huskies’ Final Four hopes, that needs to be routine.