Juju Watkins’s historic performance leads USC to weekend sweep in the Bay

Behind a historic 51-point effort from Juju Watkins Friday night, USC defeated both Stanford and Cal on the road for the first time since 2001.

LOS ANGELES — The last time that USC Women’s Basketball defeated Pac-12 powerhouse Stanford on the road, Juju Watkins had not yet been born. In fact, she was still more than four years away from arriving in the world as the next basketball prodigy.

But to Watkins, none of that mattered. Friday night, her sole concern was winning. And not only did she do so, but she also scored a few points along the way.

51 of them, to be exact.

Behind Watkins’s record-setting performance, No. 15 USC defeated No. 4 Stanford 67-58. It was the Trojans’ first win on The Farm in 23 years, and just their second since 1987. And the victory was led by an 18 year-old superstar, who’s arrival on campus has changed the trajectory of a one-time powerhouse that had been dormant for several decades.

“Any time you win here, it’s more special, because it’s Stanford and because it’s [coach] Tara [VanDerveer] and because of the standard that they have set,” USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said following the game. “That’s really not lost on me.”

“Big win for our program.”

As for Gottlieb’s thoughts on Watkins’s performance?

“We saw something that I’ve never seen before in my life,” she said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Watkins echoed Gottlieb’s sentiment on the significance of the victory.

“To come here and get a win, it really means a lot for the team,” Watkins said. “I’m just grateful for my coach, for teammates. I mean I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”

The previous USC record for points in a game was 50, set by Cherie Nelson in 1989. Watkins also added 11 assists on the evening, giving her her fourth double-double of the season.

On Sunday, the Women of Troy returned to the court across the Bay to take on Cal in Berkeley. After a sluggish performance for much of the afternoon, USC pulled away late to defeat Cal 79-69 and avoid what would have been a disappointing hangover loss.

Watkins once again led the Trojans with 29 points. She also added four rebounds and five assists.

On Sunday evening, the Women of Troy returned to campus victorious. They were greeted upon their arrival by the Trojan Marching Band, who braved the rain to help the team celebrate its huge weekend.

The Trojans will return to the court this coming Friday night, when they host Arizona State at Galen Center. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. PST.