Kelsey Plum scored 27 points and Washington advanced to face Stanford.
The Huskies did what they were supposed to do Thursday night against Colorado.
Now they will try to do what they’ve rarely done against Stanford.
Kelsey Plum scored 27 points, Talia Walton had 16 and Chantel Osahor added 18 rebounds as the fifth-seeded Huskies rolled to a 67-51 victory over No. 12 seed Colorado in the first round of the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament late Thursday at KeyArena.
Washington vs. Stanford at KeyArena, 8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Washington (21-9) advances to Friday’s quarterfinals, where a fresh Stanford team awaits for another late tipoff. The game is set for 8:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.
Most Read Stories
- 'The Big Dark': Satellite image shows future rain clouds stretching from China to Puget Sound
- Athletic director Bill Moos surprises WSU, leaves for AD job at Nebraska
- Seattle leaders look to push 'refresh' button with Amazon
- Analysis: What went wrong in Washington’s loss at Arizona State WATCH
- Washington can kiss its playoff hopes goodbye after debacle in desert WATCH
“We’re playing Stanford, we’re excited about it — our whole team is,” Plum said. “We’re going to go out there and have a lot of fun and gunsling like we always do when we play a top-10 team. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Stanford (24-6), the defending tournament champion, had a first-round bye. The Cardinal is ranked No. 11 in the AP poll this week and finished the regular season as hot as anyone in the Pac-12, winning nine of its last 10.
“Coming out tomorrow night, we’ll be the really loose team, I hope,” UW coach Mike Neighbors said. “There’s just a lot of stuff to gain for us if we can pull off the upset.”
The Huskies have historically struggled against Stanford. They’re hardly alone in that — Stanford, of course, has been one of the nation’s top programs for years — but the numbers are telling. Over the last decade, the Huskies are 1-16 against the Cardinal, their lone victory in that time coming two years at home.
It’s a performance UW will hope to draw on Friday night.
The Huskies should feel good about their performance Thursday night too. Five days after a 21-point rout of Colorado at home, the Huskies never trailed against the Buffaloes (7-23) and used a 15-2 run over the final five minutes of the second quarter to take a 40-23 halftime lead.
UW led by as many as 22 in the second half en route to their third win of the season against Colorado.
Plum, UW’s junior point guard, shot 10 of 18 from the field and moved into seventh on the Pac-12’s all-time scoring list with 2,253 points (passing UW assistant coach Adia Barnes, a former Arizona star, in the process). She needs 24 points to pass former teammate Jazmine Davis for UW’s career scoring record.
Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament
All games at KeyArena
Thursday: California 66, Utah 63 (OT); Arizona 74, Oregon 68; No. 8 USC 77, No. 9 Washington State 73; No. 5 Washington 67, No. 12 Colorado 51.
Friday: No. 2 Arizona State vs. No. 10 Cal; No. 3 UCLA vs. No. 11 Arizona, 2 p.m.; No. 1 Oregon State vs. USC, 6 p.m.; No. 4 Stanford vs. UW, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday: Semifinals, 6 and 8:30 p.m.
Sunday: Championship game, 6 p.m.
TV: All games on Pac-12 Networks, except championship game, which will be on ESPN
“I think what’s happening (with Plum) is pretty remarkable in a year that every coach in our league feels like is the best year the Pac-12 has had in a long, long time — if not maybe ever,” Neighbors said. “To have the year we’re witnessing is pretty amazing.”
UW had a scare midway through the fourth quarter when Plum — still in the game with the Huskies leading by 22 — fell to the floor in pain after getting kneed in her left thigh. Teammates and a trainer surrounded her as Plum pounded the court with her left hand. Not to worry: After a minute, Plum got to her feet and walked to the bench.
A minute after that — after Colorado scored two quick baskets — Plum re-entered the game, showing only a minor limp.
She left the locker room afterward with her thigh wrapped in ice. “I’ll be fine,” she said.
Earlier Thursday, Plum was selected as one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy — awarded to the nation’s top player — and she was named to the CoSIDA academic All-America second team, just the second player in program history so honored.
Osahor’s 18 rebounds were two shy of her career high, and Alexus Atchley added 10 points for UW, which shot 47 percent from the field.
The Huskies have won their first-round game in each of the four years the Pac-12 tournament has been played at KeyArena, but they have yet to advance past the quarterfinals.