- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

PROVO, Utah (AP) - Kelsey Plum doesn’t think No. 9 Washington knows how good they are, or can be.

The Huskies have torn their way through the nonconference schedule with just one loss, averaging a 36.9-point margin in their first 11 wins, and left another opponent in their wake Thursday afternoon.

Plum scored 29 and No. 9 Washington rolled to an 82-70 win over BYU on Thursday afternoon. The 12 points were their smallest margin of victory this season.

“We played Notre Dame, we played some other pretty good teams, but you don’t know how good you are until you’re tested with resilience,” Plum said. “We’re going to be in a game in the Pac-12 against UCLA or Stanford and we’re going to have to battle back. So, I don’t really know how good we are yet.

“I’m going to enjoy Christmas, but I’m going to be really anxious to get back because a lot of fun basketball is coming up.”

Washington (12-1) dominated the second quarter after a slow offensive start and took a 43-23 lead into halftime.

Plum, the nation’s leading scorer, scored 13 of her 29 in the second quarter and didn’t miss her first shot until after halftime. The Huskies picked up the defensive intensity in that second period and BYU was held to just seven points and shot 3 for 19 from the field.

The Cougars (6-5) made their best run of the game with a 13-0 stretch to start the third quarter and cut the lead to seven points. They got no closer as Washington responded with a 19-2 run of its own, punctuated by a Chantel Osahor triple from the top of the arc.

“I told them I was really proud of them for coming back and showing that they didn’t quit and die,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “We’ve had a real hard schedule. Now our preseason is over with, hopefully we’ve learned from the mistakes. … They’ve got to listen more on the fly in the game. Halftime I told them what I wanted and they executed perfectly.

“What happens a lot … when things aren’t going right they let that frustration get in their heads and don’t think. Sometimes the mind is worse than the body in those situations. … We’ll get better with this.”

Osahor, the nation’s leading rebounder, posted her 10th double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Cassie Broadhead led BYU with a career-high 24 points and Kalani Purcell added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“Our goal at the end of the season is to win games in the tournament, not to just get to the tournament,” Broadhead said. “We scheduled (these games) to prepare us for the postseason. Get us used to that physical, up-tempo ball.

“We scheduled a hard preseason knowing we’d lose a few. Our record doesn’t show how good we really are.”

BIG PICTURE

Washington: The Huskies have now won nine straight heading into Pac-12 play. The lone loss of the season came against No. 2 Notre Dame and focus now turns to a conference championship.

BYU: An upset would have been nice, but the Cougars just couldn’t match the skill level of one of the best teams in the country. BYU now begins its defense of the its 2015-16 West Coast Conference regular-season championship

18 YEARS

The Huskies are ranked in the Top 10 for the first time in 18 years.

“If we’re going to be in a poll, let’s be in it,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. “I’m not one of those coaches that’s going to say they don’t mean anything. I think they do. I think they mean a lot.

“First you had a good year last year because you start out ranked. Then you’ve had a good preseason. Long as we’re doing them, I’d just as soon be in them. I’m proud of our national profile. I think it’s important for our league. … It does not mean anything for the tournament coming up, and we know that.”

UP NEXT

Washington: The Huskies host Washington State on Tuesday in their Pac-12 opener.

BYU: The Cougars travel to face Santa Clara on Thursday in their West Coast Conference season opener.

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