When Kayla McBride went down with an ankle injury, I was hopeful Kelsey Plum could step up.
When Kayla McBride went down with an ankle injury against the Connecticut Sun my guess is a sense of gloom could have befallen the franchise. McBride is one of the proven marquee players the Stars have and she had suffered another leg injury.
McBride is the Stars leading scorer with 15.6 points per game, she was sitting second in assists when she as injured with 2.3 per game. She was also sitting third in rebounds with 4.3 per game. This is a lot for any team to lose, it is catastrophic for a team that went to a 2-17 record after they lost the game to the Sun.
The Stars would then travel to Atlanta to take on the Dream and despite the fact they lost 75-88 there were some good signs. Isabelle Harrison scored 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while also collecting nine rebounds.
Sequoia Holmes came in off the bench and scored 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-9 from deep. These numbers are nothing to get excited about right? Wrong. Up until the Atlanta game Holmes was only averaging 2.5 points per game.
The other essential component from this game was Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum played some meaningful minutes together and it showed the next game. I for one was excited for the potential.
The next game against the Indiana Fever was one I will not forget in a hurry. Jefferson and Plum showed what a problem they are going to be for the rest of the league in years to come.
Jefferson is currently the better WNBA point guard on the offensive side of the ball. She was initiating most of the offense when she was on the court. Plum tended to play more off the ball on offense and the results were telling.
Jefferson showed why she was the number two pick in last years draft behind Breanna Stewart. She had eight assists and two steals to go along with her 11 points but it was how she scored them which was simply awesome.
Off one steal, Jefferson competed in a foot race down court and the move she put on her defender was just stunning
Then there was the step back three as time expired on the shot clock, about the fourth play into these highlights.
However, it was the play of Plum which is causing Coach Vickie Johnson to rethink her starting line-up. Plum had a career high 16 points against the Fever as well as six assists. Her on court chemistry with Harrison is something I have not seen in a long time.
Plum, as I said earlier played most of the offensive end as a two-guard, leaving Jefferson to run the offense. However, Plum seems to have decided to make the baseline her home, hitting multiple shots by getting past her defender for the bucket. Her left-handed driving floater with time expiring on the shot clock was a thing of beauty.
Plum had several expiring shot clock situations and in all except one she got a shot off. One, she got fouled and went to the free throw line, where she would end up 5-of-5 for the night. As a shooter, there is nothing better than seeing the ball go through the net and this is helping her confidence.
The other massive benefit of having Plum play along side Jefferson is she is defending the opposition point guard, giving Jefferson a chance for a break. Plum’s defense was questioned before she came into the league but she has stepped it up since regaining health in her ankle.
Plum is always in front of her player, very rarely allowing an easy drive to the hoop. She is always rotating onto opposing perimeter shooters and is usually the one challenging the shot as it goes up.
However, Plum is also not afraid to go inside. I saw her at one point wrestling two bigger Indiana players in the paint, attempting to get the rebound. This is hustle you simply cannot teach.
When McBride comes back from injury, there is absolutely no question she should start. She is 22nd in the all-time list for points per game and is such a quality player. The problem is, both Plum and Jefferson are playing well enough to start, which is giving the rest of the team massive confidence.
Harrison is showing us what a force she will be, Holmes was perfect 2-of-2 from outside last game as well.
IF I were Coach Johnson, I would be starting Jefferson at point, Plum at shooting guard and McBride as the small forward. This would give the Stars such good offensive spacing and ball movement that will enable Harrison to continue to dominate in the paint with Erica de Souza.
The unfortunate player who would go back to the bench would have to be Alex Montgomery but this would only benefit the Stars. This would give the Stars another presence along with Dearica Hamby who has to be in the running for sixth woman of the year.
Coach Johnson has a problem, but it is a good one.