SEATTLE (AP) — Kelsey Plum eventually continued her march toward the all-time career scoring mark, but the path was made much easier by Chantel Osahor.
Plum, the nation’s leading scorer, finished with 25 points after a quiet start and Osahor had 24 points and 20 rebounds to pace No. 11 Washington past Colorado 79-46 in a Pac-12 game on Thursday night.
Plum, who entered averaging 30.9 points, pushed her career total to 3,340, second in NCAA Division I history behind Jackie Stiles, who scored 3,393 points at Southwest Missouri State from 1998-2001.
Osahor, who entered as the nation’s leading rebounder, scored the first 10 points of the game and had a double-double by halftime with 19 points and 10 rebounds, including five offensive.
“I don’t know what their game plan was, but it obviously didn’t focus on her,” Plum said. “That’s a big mistake. She made them pay early and that was huge for us, going forward.”
Washington (26-4, 14-3) led 20-18 after one quarter, but extended the margin to 38-27 at the half. The Huskies pushed the lead to 59-39 after three quarters and then scored the first 10 points of the final period.
Led by Osahor, the Huskies had a 49-37 rebound advantage and 15 second-chance points. Washington also scored 19 points off Colorado’s 14 turnovers.
Haley Smith had 16 points for Colorado (15-13, 5-12), which lost to Washington 79-75 at home on Feb. 5.
After making 6 of 13 shots in the first quarter, the Buffaloes were just 11 of 53 the rest of the way, finishing at 25.8 percent. They were held to single digits in the second and fourth quarters.
“I thought there was a small spurt in the first quarter that we played really well and executed the game plan as far being aggressive defensively, aggressive offensively,” said Colorado coach JR Payne.
“When we got more hesitant and allowed Osahor to just continue to get rebound after offensive rebound, easy put backs – we turned the ball over more than we typically do, which led to easy baskets for them, I though it just snowballed on us.”
Osahor’s game-opening run, including a pair of 3-pointers, put Washington up 10-0. Colorado closed the first quarter with an 8-3 run to pull within 20-18. Osahor had 15 points in the first period.
Plum, who missed her only shot attempt in the first quarter, scored six points to pace a 9-0 run to open the second quarter as Washington opened a 29-18 lead with 6:54 left in the half.
“She knows that our goal is to make the defense wrong,” said Washington coach Mike Neighbors. “We can’t control how they want to play her. If they want to double her and end up sending a second and third one in her space, then she knows to make the right decision and that’s to get Chantel going.”
Colorado: After a 10-0 start under first-year coach JR Payne, the Buffaloes struggled in the rugged Pac-12. But, they were 4-4 in the eight games prior to Thursday. Colorado was 2-16 in the conference last season, 7-23 overall.
Washington: The Huskies have clinched a top-four seed and a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, to be played at KeyArena in Seattle, March 2-5.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Osahor broke Washington’s single-season rebounding record, which she set last season with 417 rebounds. She now has 436 this season, which leads the NCAA. It also was her 25th double-double this season.
Colorado finishes the regular season at Washington State on Saturday afternoon. The Buffaloes defeated the Cougars at home 70-58 earlier this month.
Washington closes the regular season at home on Saturday afternoon against Utah. The Huskies won at Utah 82-53 on Feb. 3.
By JIM HOEHN, Associated Press
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