No. 15 USC’s JuJu Watkins is the moment in NCAA women’s hoops
The GIST: In a weekend of blockbuster matchups, one freshman stole the show: No. 15 USC guard JuJu Watkins. Watkins scored 51 points (!!!) in her Trojans’ historic 67–58 Friday win over No. 4 Stanford, the latest in what’s already shaping up to be a standout year. This kid is more than all right.
The stats: Watkins is a verified scoring machine. She leads the Trojans in every offensive category and trails only the aforementioned Caitlin Clark in points per game. She was named AP Player of the Week last month and made last week’s Wooden Award Top 20 watchlist — massive accomplishments for a first-year player.
- USC’s season has been a roller coaster, but even when the Trojans struggle, JuJu shines. Case in point? She’s averaged 23 points over their four losses.
The context: The reigning Gatorade Player of the Year (an accolade awarded to the country’s top high school hooper) generated tons of hype before starting college, especially when she chose USC, a historically good but recently mid program.
- JuJu’s now following in the footsteps of Trojan alum and WNBA greats Lisa Leslie and Cheryl Miller, and her star power alone has put USC back on the map — but can she lead them to a deep postseason run?
What’s next: The door to a Pac-12 title is closing quickly, especially after Stanford’s 80–60 smackdown of No. 7 UCLA yesterday. But if USC runs the table in their eight remaining regular-season games, they’ll build up some serious momentum heading into March Madness — and it’ll be largely thanks to their freshman phenom.