HomeSportsJuJu Watkins has gotten...

JuJu Watkins has gotten a taste of March Madness, and wants more next season


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — JuJu Watkins sobbed following USC’s Elite Eight loss to UConn but her tears weren’t so much about the end of the NCAA Tournament run for the Trojans.

The talented freshman was sad it was the last game with her teammates until next season.

“I have the best teammates in the world,” she said, her voice trailing off as she wept.

An AP first-team All-American, Watkins averaged 27 points this season, second only to Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, who set the game’s all-time Division I scoring record this season.

Watkins showed she could be the heir apparent to Clark once the Iowa sensation departs to the WNBA after this season.

In the final game of her freshman season, an 80-73 loss to the Huskies, Watkins finished with 29 points. During the game, she broke the single-season freshman scoring record, which was 898 points set in 1983 by Tina Hutchinson at San Diego State.

Watkin’s final tally this season was 920.

“The record is great. Just the moments that I’ve got to spend with this team have meant everything to me,” she said. “I’m just excited for next year.”

Watkins made a splash in her college debut with 32 points in an 83-74 victory over Ohio State. She scored a season-high 51 points in a 67-58 win over Stanford on Feb. 2.

In the Sweet 16, she took control in the final moments, driving the length of the floor for a go-ahead three-point play with 3:13 left and the Trojans went on to beat Baylor 74-70. Watkins finished with 30 points and pushed USC into its first Elite Eight appearance in 30 years.

USC senior McKenzie Forbes marveled at her young teammate.

“It’s really rare that you get a superstar that can come in. She’s selfless. She’s mature. She’s a winner. She only cares about winning. She’s (expletive) 18 years old. Sorry. Excuse my language,” Forbes said. “Seriously, I would want to be her teammate every day of the week. I truly mean that. I think this program couldn’t be in better hands than with her.”

The Elite Eight was as far as the Trojans could get in the tournament, stopped by a determined UConn team and star Paige Bueckers. The Huskies made it tough on Watkins by double-teaming her effectively.

“For her to have the year she had as a freshman, fearless, confident, one of the best players in the country, she’s got a lot to build on,” Bueckers said. “I know getting here, feeling this loss, we’ve been a part of it, it’s very motivating. It lets you build experience on how to be better, how to learn from it.”

Watkins, a hometown kid who went to Sierra Canyon in Los Angeles, was one of several high-profile freshmen this season, including Notre Dame’s Hannah Hidalgo and Texas’ Madison Booker.

With Hollywood as a backdrop, Watkins captured the Los Angeles spotlight. She’s even featured in a television commercial with Joel Embiid for AT&T that showcases her distinctive bun hairstyle — one of several endorsement deals she’s landed.

But it’s the game that motivates her.

“I think just coming up short, that adds a lot of fuel to the fire for the next couple years,” she 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.”

___

AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness





Source link

Most Popular

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

Fever select Caitlin Clark with No. 1 pick in WNBA Draft

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Eight days after completing one of the greatest collegiate basketball careers ever recorded, Caitlin Clark was selected with the No. 1 pick in Monday’s WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever.Clark is poised to not only help the Fever return to the postseason for...

In 1998, Bollywood star killed two blackbucks. A gang still seeks revenge.

Khan has been in the crosshairs of an armed gang since 1998 for shooting two blackbucks on a recreational hunting trip.Two members of a notorious criminal gang have been arrested for firing at the home of Bollywood actor Salman Khan in apparent retaliation for the superstar’s...

14 More Games Land on PS Plus Extra, Premium Today

As always, we ran a Poll over the weekend to gather your thoughts on the line-up, and (almost) as always, one-third of you responded by saying "it's a crap selection". 26 per cent of voters were at least somewhat happy with the selection, with Dave the...

Where Biden’s billions in chipmaking money have gone — and what could be next

The White House announcement this week of up to $6.4 billion in chipmaking cash for Samsung (005930.KS) marks a move to the next phase of the Biden administration's effort to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to the US.The focus so far has largely been on leading-edge logic...

WNBA expansion headed for 16 teams. Portland, Toronto and Philly are options

NEW YORK — The WNBA is looking to continue growing in the next few years. The league intends to reach 16 teams by 2028, commissioner Cathy Engelbert said before the draft, confirming The Athletic report from earlier Monday.The league announced earlier this year that the Bay...

Microsoft Makes High-Stakes Play in Tech Cold War With Emirati A.I. Deal

Microsoft on Tuesday said it would make a $1.5 billion investment in G42, an artificial intelligence giant in the United Arab Emirates, in a deal largely orchestrated by the Biden administration to box out China as Washington and Beijing battle over who will exercise technological influence...

A hockey puck hurtled toward her son’s head. A fan jumped to block it.

Just over a minute was left on the clock during a hockey game in Cleveland Thursday when a player struck the puck, sending it barreling into the stands and toward Asia Davis’s 4-year-old son. That’s when another fan jumped and extended his right arm to block...

Thailand’s Finance Ministry to lead 17 agencies in considering House report on legalizing casinos

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance has been appointed lead agency to consider a House committee study recommending the legalization of casino gaming but will work with 16 other agencies in doing so, local media reports. According to English-language outlet The Nation, the appointment was ordered by way of...

WWE RAW Results Coverage, Reactions and Highlights for April 15, 2024

It’s Monday night, and you know what that means! WWE RAW will go down tonight, and Ringside News has got you covered with live play-by-play results coverage for the April 15, 2024 episode. The start time for WWE RAW is 8:00 PM EST. Match-by-match highlights...

Coachella Weekend 1 Recap, J Balvin’s Out Of This World Coachella Set, Metro Boomin & Future Top Hot 100 | Billboard News

It’s Monday April 15th, Billboard counts down the top 10 on the Hot 100, we’re running down all the headliners and special guest performers and some notable audience members that went down at the first weekend of Coachella, J Balvin gives us a behind the scene...