Plum unanimous choice as AP women's basketball All-American
NEW YORK (AP) Kelsey Plum left quite the mark at Washington.
Now the senior guard, who became the NCAA's all-time career leading scorer this season, is the first from the school to earn Associated Press All-America honors.
''It is really special. I started out the season and remembered last year I was on the third team and I felt like I could have been better,'' Plum said. ''So going into the offseason, working out I felt I could step up my play to another level.''
She did just that, averaging 31.7 points for the Huskies while shooting 53 percent from the field.
''That's the type of player she is,'' Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. ''She came in with a desire to be a great player and after a period of time to be recognized as one of the greats is awesome.''
Plum received all 33 votes from a national media panel Monday that chooses the Top 25 each week. She is joined on the All-America team by South Carolina's A'ja Wilson, Maryland's Brionna Jones and UConn's Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson. Voting was done before the NCAA Tournament.
It's the second straight year that Wilson earned first-team honors. She averaged 17.6 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Gamecocks.
''It's really such a blessing to be recognized, just a blessing,'' Wilson said. ''Every time we're on the court, I feel like I'm doing the same things I've been doing, trying to be efficient and going out there to help my team get a win.''
Samuelson and Collier's play this season has impressed their coach as the two sophomores really developed this year and were key reasons the Huskies are still unbeaten. Samuelson averaged 21 points a game, just a tad more than Collier's 20.2.
''It's not like, freshman year they did this, sophomore year they did this, junior year they were second team and now as seniors they finally broke through,'' UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. ''This is their second year playing college basketball and so for them to do what they have done and to do it in this spotlight, under this kind of pressure against the teams that we've played is absolutely unbelievable.''
This marked the fourth consecutive year that UConn had at least one All-American. Huskies junior Gabby Williams earned second team honors.
''They are tough individuals and they are only going to get better,'' Auriemma said. ''When I see our young players play, I close my eyes and I like to think, `Man, this is the worst they are going to be. They are only going to get better. You cross your fingers when you say that.''
While the two UConn players have two more years, Jones played her final one at Maryland and made it special.
She averaged 19.8 points and 10.8 rebounds, shooting nearly 70 percent from the field.
''It definitely means a lot to me, just to see all the hard work I've put in over the years, seeing how it's played out in my senior season,'' said Jones. ''I'm really excited to have this honor and share it with my teammates. This is something I strived for. I worked hard. Coming into the season I was talking to coach, telling her everything I wanted to accomplish, and this is definitely one of the things I wanted to push myself to do.''
Joining Williams on the second team were Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell, Notre Dame's Brianna Turner, Washington's Chantel Osahor and Syracuse's Alexis Peterson.
The third team includes Oregon State's Sydney Wiese, Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen, Maryland's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Duke's Lexie Brown and Mississippi State's Victoria Vivians.
Plum and Wilson were on the preseason team, along with Mitchell, Turner and Nina Davis of Baylor.
AP women's All-America team breakdown: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/article/full-ap-womens-all-america-team-breakdown
AP Sports Writers Dave Ginsburg in College Park, Maryland and Pat Eaton-Robb in Storrs, Connecticut contributed to this report.
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