I’ve been so fortunate during my 40 years in sports journalism. I’ve met most of the all time greats including Muhammad Ali, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr, Joe Montana, Steve Largent, George Foreman, all the current Seahawks players to mention a few.
No I’m not name dropping here, I’m just trying to give this column a little perspective. I’ve seen so many magnificent sports performances but none of them can beat what I saw on Saturday at the UW women’s basketball game against Utah.
Senior guard Kelsey Plum went into the game needing 54 points to become the all time leading scorer in NCAA women’s basketball. No one thought she would do it on Saturday. Most of us figured it would happen during the Pac-12 tournament at Key Arena the following week. We were wrong. She scored 57 points to lead her team to victory 84-77 and become the all time leader in points. All of this happened on Senior Day in front of 6,775 lucky and smart fans.
Kelsey woke up Saturday morning with a raspy voice and a bit of a cold. My gosh what would she have done if she was feeling great? She scored ten points in the first quarter and had 22 by halftime and added 16 more third quarter. Then with eight minutes left in the game Chantel Osahor fouled out. The game was still close so Kelsey did what she always does, she took over scoring 19 points in the final period to lead her team to victory and break Jackie Stile’s all time record. Stiles was among the first to congratulate Plum via Twitter after the game. Plum now has 3,397 career points.
Watching the 5-8 Plum take over another game and make almost every shot imaginable now ranks as the most exciting moment of my sports career. Yes I said it. More exciting than the Seahawk’s Super Bowl win, more exciting than the Mariner’s run through the playoffs in 1995 and the Sonics near NBA title the following year.
Women’s sports get little or no credit on most days in the national and local media. Seattle has two radio stations doing sports 24/7 and they’ve managed to give Plum and her team only occasional mentions. Program directors of both stations have told me, “womens sports don’t move the needle.” In other words unless the talk is about Russell Wilson or the Mariners the radio stations don’t care. Well I do and I am grateful to have seen one of the best individual performances by an athlete at any level last Saturday. We wish the Huskies all the best in the Pac-12 tournament and beyond.