JuJu Watkins’ 27 Point Display Goes in Vain as UCLA Maintain Perfect Record

Published 12/31/2023, 1:45 AM EST

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JuJu Watkins is on a rampage. She has guided the Trojans to a 10-0 record and the No. 6 spot in the AP Top 25 rankings. But sadly, despite her 27-point performance, USC lately fell to UCLA, ending her efforts in vain.

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JuJu Watkins is primed to become the next great thing in women’s basketball. With 26.8 points per game, the rookie guard from Southern California is the second-highest scorer in the country, trailing only Caitlin Clark (30.5). In each of her first five weeks, Watkins was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week. With five in her first seven games, she surpassed Lisa Leslie’s school record for the most 30-point games by a rookie.

JuJu Watkins’ 27 points are in vain

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In front of UCLA’s first-ever sellout crowd in the history of the women’s basketball program, the No. 2 Bruins defeated rival No. 6 USC 71-64 on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion, winning their ninth straight game. USC standout freshman JuJu Watkins scored 27 points in the game.

With 11 rebounds and two assists on seven of 24 shots, Watkins battled against UCLA’s rugged defense. McKenzie Forbes, a graduate transfer, scored 23 points. Last week, she scored a career-high 35 points against Long Beach State.

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However, UCLA’s depth defeated USC’s star power thanks to four players scoring in double figures, highlighted by Londynn Jones’ 21 points, which came from five of her eight three-point attempts.

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Watkins carved a name for herself

The enthusiasm for Watkins was evident even in the sea of blue UCLA shirts and jerseys, as supporters were wearing her red No. 12 jersey. Even among a brilliant bunch of freshmen, Watkins—the top-ranked recruit in her class—has captured the eye of the basketball world and is proven to be a unique talent.

Last Monday, ESPN released their list of the best 25 women’s collegiate basketball players, and Watkins came in first among freshmen, coming in at number five.

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Top-ranked player Betts was rated No. 12 for UCLA, which overcame challenging road games at Ohio State and Arkansas as well as a neutral game against Connecticut to struggle to an unbeaten nonconference record.

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Written by:

Nima Murugan

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“Basketball isn’t an act of jumping jacks, it’s a sport mirroring life through assists and rebounds”. Before becoming an NBA writer at EssentiallySports, I was drawn to the world of basketball when 'The Chosen One' first started locking horns with 'His Airness' over the GOAT debate. Some discourses shape your imagination and rightly so.
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Edited by:

Bilal Handoo

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