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One of the key's to having a successful college basketball team is having a go-to player, a star who can be relied on game in and game out.

The Utah women seem to have that in Michelle Plouffe.

A 6-foot-1 combination forward, Plouffe has honed her craft for three years. Now, on the cusp of being a senior, national pundits are beginning to take notice.

On Thursday afternoon, Plouffe was named a third team All-American by The Sporting News. Plouffe has been on the Associated Press All-American team as an honorable mention selection in each of the past two seasons. She's on pace to become the third player in Utah history to reach 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

"This is a tremendous achievement for Michelle," Utah Head Coach Anthony Levrets said. "She has worked incredibly hard to become a great player and put herself in position to be recognized as one of the elite players in the country. We are expecting her to have a huge impact in her senior year here at the U."

If Plouffe has a good season, she can possibly become the first player from Utah to make the WNBA since Leilani Mitchell accomplished the feat five years ago. Mitchell, a point guard, is still with the New York Liberty in a back-up role.

Plouffe this season will team with Taryn Wicijowski in what could be one of the best backcourts in the Pac-12. Plouffe is a two-time all-conference selection.

• Tony Jones

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