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  • Writer's pictureKate Stiger

Juju Watkins is Breaking Records and Becoming College Basketball's Newest Star

On Friday, February 2, Juju Watkins got basketball fans around the country buzzing as the freshman put up a dominant 51 points in No. 15 University of Southern California’s 67-58 win over No. 4 Stanford. Watkins accounted for 76% of the Trojans scoring, while also adding 11 rebounds and 4 steals. 

Watkins was in complete control the entire game and Stanford's defense had no answers for the freshman guard. Her explosive performance is the highest number of points scored so far this season. It has given her Freshman of the Year campaign a huge boost and even has some people considering her for the National Player of the Year. In the past 25 seasons, she is the only freshman to post a stat line of 50 points and 10 rebounds. 

Her performance had everyone talking about women’s basketball over the weekend and the freshman is just getting started.

Making an Impact

So far in her freshman season, Watkins is averaging 27.3 points per game and is second in the NCAA only behind Caitlin Clark. What may be even more impressive than the statistics is Watkins’ ability to make an impact right from the start of her career. Adjusting to college basketball usually takes time for players and even the best freshman might take a few games to settle in. 

But not Watkins. She scored 32 points in her first college game, and it was against a top-10 opponent in No. 7 Ohio State. There is no sign of her slowing down, as she has scored in double digits in every game of her career. In addition to points, she leads USC in two other categories with 3.4 assists per game and 2.7 steals per game. 

Watkins is setting herself up to end this season with some awards for her incredible play. In addition to being in contention for Freshman and National Player of the Year, she is on the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 Watch List and the Wade Trophy Watch List. Watkins will certainly be on the shortlist for some Pac-12 Conference awards as well.

USC had not made it past the first round of the NCAA tournament since the 2006 season, but with their new generational talent, this could be the start of a new trajectory for the Trojans.

Among the USC Greats

USC has had some legends go through its program. Think of names such as Tina Thompson, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller, and so many others. In just her 18th game, Watkins broke the school record for most points scored in a game. 

As a freshman, she is well on her way to adding her name to this list of star players. Watkins, who grew up in Los Angeles, was the top recruit in the country and Gatorade National Player of the Year with offers from some of the top basketball schools in the country. But she chose to stay close to home and rewrite the record books at USC.


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