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Washington's Kelsey Plum has been drawing rave reviews during NCAA women's tournament

Washington's Kelsey Plum has been drawing rave reviews during NCAA women's tournament
All-time NCAA scoring leader Kelsey Plum tries to score on a layup against USC's Courtney Jaco during a Pac-12 game Jan. 6. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Mississippi State women's basketball Coach Vic Schaefer sees something familiar when he watches Washington guard Kelsey Plum.

The Houston native and Rockets fan said Plum affects the game the same way NBA superstar James Harden does.

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"They run a lot of stuff that the Rockets run," Schaefer said. "They spread the floor. They play off of her. She's smart enough to find who is open, and those kids can make shots."

Washington's dynamic senior has averaged at least 20 points in each of her four seasons, and she has broken Jackie Stiles' NCAA career and single-season scoring records this season. Schaefer is the next coach who will try to devise a plan to slow Plum when his Bulldogs (31-4) face the Huskies (29-5) on Friday in the Oklahoma City Regional of the NCAA tournament's round of 16.

Plum is averaging 31.8 points per game this season with a high game of 57 points. Washington is seeded third, Mississippi State second.

The other Oklahoma City game features No. 1-seed Baylor (32-3) against No. 4 Louisville (29-7).

If it's any consolation, those who play with Plum most often — her teammates — don't have answers for her unorthodox game, either.

She has a lightning-quick left-handed release on deep shots, but she can dribble and finish easily with either hand. Though she's just 5 feet 8, she has an array of different ways to score in the paint.

"It's definitely not easy," Washington guard Aarion McDonald said of practice. "Kelsey is a crafty player, so she always keeps us on our toes.

"One minute, we might stop her, but next time down, she gets us back. So we're like, 'How do we guard her?'"

In the Lexington, Ky., Regional on Friday, No. 1 Notre Dame (32-3) will play No. 5 Ohio State (28-6) and No. 3 Texas (25-8) will face No. 2 Stanford (30-5).

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