Hands-on approach: Purple pen helps WNBA’s Plum blossom

The former Washington star struggled early in her WNBA career, but things seem to be picking up for her. A coach’s simple but symbolic trick may be helping to keep a smile on her face.

NEW YORK (AP) — With Kelsey Plum struggling at the start of her career, San Antonio Stars assistant coach Latricia Trammell took a hands-on approach to try to break the rookie out of a slump.

Last month, right before the Stars played at Indiana, Trammell took out a purple pen and drew a plus sign and the word “positive” on Plum’s hand. She went out and scored 12 points that game — her high for the season to that point — and San Antonio won its first road game.

Trammell has done it every game since, too and just like that, the 5-foot-8 guard who set the NCAA career scoring record at Washington has blossomed.

“I started with purple because it’s her college team color,” Trammell said in a phone interview Monday night. “Ever since we started to do it, she’s been doing very well. She glances down at it and smiles and is playing more relaxed. It’s as simple as one word on the back of her hand.”

Plum has played extremely well lately helping the Stars to a three-game winning streak, their longest since 2015. She had a career-best 12 assists on Friday night and then followed it up with a season-high 23 points on Saturday in a win over Seattle. She earned AP WNBA player of the week honors Tuesday.

“It’s still not daisies and roses, but continues to get better,” Plum said. “I think I wasn’t having fun and things in life that come at you, hit you hard.”

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Plum had a tough start to her career injuring her ankle in the practice before the regular season started. It was slow to heal and the team wasn’t winning. This wasn’t how she envisioned her pro career going.

“I love playing and love performing and I think I struggled with not playing to what I was…

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