USC Women’s Basketball settles for weekend split with Washington schools

After taking down Washington State on Friday night, USC fell to Washington Sunday afternoon for their third defeat in four games.

This was supposed to be a bounce-back weekend for USC Women’s Basketball.

After suffering two tough road losses to top-20 squads Utah and Colorado last week, the Women of Troy returned home to Galen Center for home games against unranked opponents Washington State and Washington. It was supposed to be an opportunity for USC to get back on the right foot as they geared up for the stretch run.

Instead, the Trojans had to settle for a split with the Washington schools, and were left with more questions than answers.

On Friday night, USC held off Washington State 70-62. Star freshman Juju Watkins was once again stellar for the Trojans, recording a team-leading 29 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks.

“We’re continuing to get better,” head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said following the victory. “I appreciate how our team shows up and tried to buy into the message every single time.”

On Sunday, however, everything seemed to go wrong for the Women of Troy against an upstart Washington team. USC trailed by double digits at the half, and their comeback attempt came up just short, as the Huskies held on by a final score of 62-59 to pull off the upset.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the loss coincided with Watkins’s worst game as a Trojan. Although she still scored 19 points, she shot below 30 percent from the field and only attempted two free throws the entire game. Perhaps the most damning Watkins statistic from the game, however, was a six in the turnovers committed column, which proved costly down the stretch.

With the defeat, the Trojans fell four spots to No. 15 in the latest AP poll. They are one of six Pac-12 teams currently ranked, tied with the ACC for the most of any conference.

“I just have so much respect for this league,” Gottlieb said. “This league is so darn good man.”

“Everyone’s good. You never feel like a lead is safe.”

That group of ranked teams is headlined by No. 4 Stanford, whom the Trojans will travel to play on Friday night in a huge showdown. Tip off on The Farm is set for 7:00 p.m. PST.