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Trojans fall to UConn


NCAA women’s tournament

On Monday night, the USC Women's basketball team lost to UConn in the NCAA tournament, led by freshman sensation Juju Watkins. The Huskies, led by star guard Paige Bueckers, advanced to the final four with an 80-73 win.

While it was an emotional ending for the record-breaking freshman, Watkins's debut to the college world was everything you could hope for from the No.1 ranked high school player. Watkins is a Los Angeles native playing high school ball at Sierra Canyon, where she was named the 2022 MaxPreps National Player of the Year her junior year and named the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year during her senior season, becoming the first Trojans signee to win the award since Lisa Leslie in 1990. 

Watkins's impact was immediate, scoring 32 points in her debut against Ohio State. The high scoring didn't stop there as Watkins would continue dominating her opponents and scoring in bunches, even scoring a career-high 51 points in the Trojans' 67-58 upset of then-No. 4 Stanford on Feb. 2.  Watkins led the Trojans to 29 wins on the season the most they had in the regular season in 30 years. 

Watkins was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and a first-time all-conference selection, averaging 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.4 steals per game.

Watkins and the Trojans earned a No. 1 seed in the Portland Regional 3 and beat No. 5 seed Baylor 74-70 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. Watkins scored 30 points to lead the Trojans in the Sweet 16 matchup, with their season coming to an end in the elite eight. 

“I think just coming up short, that adds a lot of fuel to the fire for the next couple of years," Watkins said. "I’m just excited to go back home and get in the gym now. I’m really focused on learning from this season as a whole, things I can improve on.”