Kelsey Plum, a Las Vegas Aces guard, has had a productive few weeks. Earlier this month, she made her debut appearance at an All-Star Game and was named MVP after scoring 30 points. She signed a two-year contract extension with the Aces only one week after that. As a result of her performance in last night’s 84-66 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks, the Aces have already secured a postseason place with a dazzling 20-8 record.
At 53-46 in the third quarter, the Sparks had a comfortable lead over the Aces until the Aces opted to take the game to the opposition. A 7-0 solo run by A’ja Wilson got things going and tied the game. Once Plum got the ball back, it was 57-53 after Plum’s free throws and a difficult driving layup. With eight more points in the fourth quarter, she had a game-high 29 points for her side. what had begun as a tight victory for the Sparks turned into yet another rout in favour of the Aces.
A great squad, as well as a self-assured one, has the potential to lock in and convert a small deficit into a gaping lead. Plum exemplifies Becky Hammon’s fast-paced, trigger-happy Aces’ self-assurance more than anyone else. She did to the Sparks what she’s done to most teams this season: attack the rim fearlessly, draw up from three without hesitation, and flit about the floor like a supremely confident wasp. In the fight for the scoring title, she’s now second only behind Breanna Stewart with almost 20 points per game, and she leads the league in three-pointers made.
In addition to her 29-point performances and pull-up threes, Kelsey Plum’s season is particularly rewarding since it confirms what had previously only been possible in hypothetical scenarios: Kelsey Plum is a true WNBA superstar.
Wasting potential is one of the most depressing aspects of professional sports, and for most of Plum’s career, it appeared as if he would be a victim of this fate. After her final year at the University of Washington, Plum went from averaging more than 31 points per game to being selected as the first choice in the 2017 WNBA draught. In her first three seasons in the NBA, she averaged less than 10 points per game. Last season, Plum averaged 14.8 points off the bench and won the Sixth Woman of the Year award, which signalled a turning point in her career. Is Kelsey Plum truly all she’s cracked up to be, or is there more to her? Is there a good place to get bench points?
To her credit, Hammon and her forward-thinking approach to the game came just in time to help answer that burning question: Hell no! However, as Plum works to cement her status as an everyday starter and perhaps even an MVP candidate in the near future, we can all take delight in seeing one of sports’ greatest joys: that first season in which a star athlete actually, finally, comes into her own….