Plum scores 33 to pace the Huskies to a 79-64 victory in the Pac-12 opener.
PULLMAN — The eye-opening hot start to Washington State’s season has been largely due to the Cougars’ successfully applying coach June Daugherty’s exhortation to “create chaos.”
“That didn’t happen tonight,” Daugherty said after the Cougars’ 79-64 loss to Washington in front of 837 fans on Tuesday night.
The pinpoint accuracy of Kelsey Plum, the nation’s leading scorer, and teammate Brianna Ruiz proved too much for the Cougars in both teams’ Pac-12 Conference opener.
After a slow offensive start – the teams combined to make just two of their first 14 shots – Plum began to heat up from the outside. When the WSU defense would collapse on the junior guard, Plum frequently found Ruiz spotting up along the three-point line for a deep shot of her own.
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Despite going scoreless for the game’s first five minutes, Plum led all scorers with 33 points, making 5 of 7 three-point attempts, and Ruiz chipped in 12, finishing 4 of 7 from behind the arc. Floor-stretching forward Talia Walton made three three-pointers, and as a team, the Huskies shot 44.4 percent (12 of 27) from three-point range.
The Huskies’ sharpshooting trio built a sizable enough lead to weather WSU’s fourth-quarter run, when Borislava Hristova (15 points), WSU’s freshman leading scorer, had a steal, assist and two baskets to cut UW’s lead to 12. UW entered the quarter leading 63-43.
Mariah Cooks, who led the Cougars with 20 points, also made a pair of jump shots and a three-pointer during WSU’s fourth-quarter run.
The Huskies are 34-5 all-time in Pullman, including an 83-43 victory last season.