Did the University of Washington’s Kelsey Plum, a unanimous All-America basketball player, just complete the greatest athletic career in recent school history? Vote here.
Having already won six major postseason awards, including four National Player of the Year trophies, Washington’s Kelsey Plum can run the table later this week if she also claims the John R. Wooden Award, presented since 2004 by the Los Angeles Athletic Club to the outstanding women’s college basketball player in the nation.
Most of Plum’s awards, particularly the Associated Press, Naismith, Wade, Drysdale and Wooden trophies, are redundant, all recognizing by different organizations the same achievement: Best player of the year.
But the fact that Plum is on the verge of sweeping them all is significant: Only LSU’s Seimone Augustus (2005-06), Connecticut’s Maya Moore (2010-11), Baylor’s Brittney Griner (2012-13) and UConn’s Breanna Stewart (2015-16) before Plum walked off with every available award.
From that elite group, only Plum also added the Nancy Liebermann and Dawn Staley awards, presented to the nation’s best guard.
In more than 100 years of games-playing over a spectrum of sports, Washington has never had an athlete make off with such a haul of national hardware. Considering that Plum finished her years in the program as the leading scorer in NCAA history, both for career and single season, it can reasonably be argued that she is the most dominant athlete in a single sport in school history.
Listed below, alphabetically, are five athletes over the past quarter century who dominated during their time at UW. Their achievements do not take into account any post-Washington success in the professional ranks or in the Olympics. That eliminates, for example, the likes of Mary Whipple, the only U.S. woman rower with three Olympic medals, two of them gold.
Steve Emtman, football (1989-91): Winner of the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award (for top college lineman), 1991 . . . Fourth in Heisman voting, 1991 . . . College Football Hall of Fame (2006) . . . Rose Bowl MVP (1991) and Rose Bowl Hall of Fame (2006) . . . Bill Willis Award (top college defensive lineman presented by Touchdown Club of Columbus) . . . Consensus All-America . . . UPI Lineman of Year . . . Pac-10 Defensive Player of Year, 1991 . . . Morris Trophy, 1991 . . . No. 1 overall pick in NFL draft, 1992.
Danielle Lawrie, softball (2005-10): USA Softball College Player of Year, 2009, 2010 (one of two women in history to win multiple times) . . . Honda National layer of the Year, 2009, 2010 . . . MVP Women’s College World Series, 2009 . . . First-team All-America, 2009, 2010 . . . Pac-10 Player of Year, 2009-10 . . . Holds UW records for career wins, shutouts, strikeouts, strikeout ratio, starts, appearances, complete games and innings . . . Threw eight no-hitters, including four perfect games . . . 1,860 strikeouts, fourth-most in NCAA history . . . Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week 18 times (conference record).
Kelsey Plum, women’s basketball (2014-17): Associated Press Women’s Player of the Year, 2017 . . . Naismith, Wade, Ann Meyers Drysdale trophies (national player of year), 2017 . . . Nancy Lieberman Award (top point guard), 2017 . . . Dawn Staley Award (best Division 1 guard), 2017 . . . Unanimous Associated Press All-America and Pac-12 Player of Year, 2017 . . . Second-team AP All-America, 2016 . . . Four-time All-Pac-12 (2014-17) . . . NCAA career scoring leader (3,527 points), 2014-17 . . . NCAA single-season scoring leader (1,090 points), 2016-17 . . . NCAA career free throws made leader (912) . . . Pac-12 single-game scoring record (57 points vs. Utah, Feb. 25, 2017).
Brandon Roy, men’s basketball (2003-06): Consensus first-team All-America, including Associated Press, 2006 . . . Pac-12 Player of Year, 2006 . . . Pac-12 Player of Week four times, 2006 . . . First Husky to have jersey (No. 3) retired since Bob Houbregs, the NCAA Player of the Year, 1953.
Marques Tuiasosopo, football (1997-00): All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year in 2000 when he led UW to eight come-from-behind wins in 11 regular-season games . . . Rose Bowl MVP, 2001, when he beat Drew Brees and Purdue . . . First player in NCAA history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 200 in a game (vs. Stanford), 1999 . . . Set 12 records during his career and finished as the school’s all-time leader in total offense with 6,875 yards, more than 1,000 more than the runner-up.