SEATTLE — California understandably focused its defensive attention on Washington stars Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor. Natalie Romeo made them pay for it.
Romeo scored 32 points, including 10 3-pointers, and Kelsey Plum added 24 points to move into sixth place on the NCAA all-time scoring list as No.7 Washington beat California 90-67 on Friday night.
“Washington is one of the best teams in the country and certainly one of the most potent offensively. And they showed it tonight,” California coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “When you can do what would be considered a relatively decent job on their two stars, and the third scorer goes 10 for 19 from 3, you’re in trouble.”
Plum, who entered averaging 31 points — tops in the nation — pushed her career scoring total to 3,094 points to move past Minnesota’s Rachel Banham (3,093) on the scoring list. Former Missouri State standout Jackie Stiles is the all-time leading scorer with 3,393 points.
Plum was 8 of 16 from the field, including, 4 of 9 beyond the arc, and also had seven rebounds and five assists.
“If she was chasing records, she’d have been shooting way more in a game like this,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. “She was trying to get Natalie involved, trying to get Heather (Corral) back in the groove, she’s throwing it to Chantel (Osahor) … she’s not, she’s doing what we need to win, not only tonight, but in the future.”
Osahor, who entered as the nation’s top rebounder, added 16 points and 11 boards for the Huskies (20-2, 8-1).
Kristine Anigwe had 23 points for the Golden Bears (15-6, 3-6), who started the season 13-0.
The Huskies gained control early, making 7 of 12 from beyond the arc en route to a 29-16 lead entering the second quarter. Washington continued its long-range barrage in the second, making 6 of 13 3s and pushing the lead to 55-33 at the half.
Romeo, a junior transfer from Nebraska, scored 17 first-quarter points, making 5 of 6 3s, and added three more 3s in the second quarter for 26 first-half points.
“I was feeling pretty good when my teammates were hyping me up and that got me really excited,” Romeo said. “It was pretty big.”
The Golden Bears pulled to 13-10 on a three-point play by Kristine Anigwe, but Washington responded with a 10-2 run, extending the lead to 23-12 on Katie Collier’s layin.
Corral and Plum opened the second quarter with 3-pointers to put the Huskies up 35-16.
Anigwe’s jumper from the right side pulled Cal to 41-24, but Washington answered with a 10-3 spurt to make it 51-27 with 3:55 left in the half.
The Huskies hit four more 3s in the third quarter to extend the lead to 80-48 entering the final period.
“The game plan was not to give Natalie that many open looks, we were just unable to rotate quickly enough and take away what we wanted to take away with Plum and Osahor and still get to out to her,” Gottlieb said. “But, again, kudos to her. She put on quite a performance given the opportunity.”