Syracuse Shuts Down Washington Star PG Kelsey Plum

Syracuse shut down Washington's star with their relentless defense.

The Syracuse defense has been a big reason why they have advanced to the NCAA Title Game. They have held four of their five opponents under 60 points, are the nation's leader in turnovers forced and feature an aggressive press that frustrates the opposition. 

The most recent example was Washington on Sunday, which feel to the Orange 80-59 in the Final Four. The Huskies shot just 38.5% from the floor and turned it over 18 times. 

Their star point guard, Kelsey Plum, was among the nation's best scorers entering the game. She was averaging over 26 points per game to go along with seven assists. Her numbers against Syracuse fell well short of those averages. 

"First of all, a lot of credit to Kelsey Plum and the season she's had," junior point guard Alexis Peterson said. "It's not easy facing this type of pressure for 40 minutes. And you being the only ball handler, you're playing with limited bodies, but I thought we just really wanted to jump out and make it tough for her.

"We didn't want her to get out on the open floor and beat us up in transition and get open looks. So we just tried to keep a high hand every time she caught the ball, and we ultimately made it hard for her. But she did what all great players do; she found a way to score."

In the first meeting back in November, she turned it over eight times and had a subpar day offensively. History repeated itself in Indianapolis as she turned it over six times. 

Plum did score 17 points, but shot just 5-18 from the floor including 1-6 from beyond the three-point arc. She also only dished out three assists. That's nine points below her scoring averages and less than half her normal output of assists. 

To top it off, Syracuse shut down Washington's inside presence, Chantel Osafor. Osafor scored 24 points in the Regional Final to help the Huskies reach the Final Four. She was only able to manage three points on 1-6 shooting against Syracuse. 

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