USC Women’s Basketball stays hot, defeats Colorado 87-81

Behind a stellar three-point shooting night, UISC earned an impressive victory over a really good Colorado team.

LOS ANGELES — In case you haven’t heard, one of the best basketball teams in the country plays on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles.

No, I’m not referring to the 37-18 Clippers, who currently have the fourth-best winning percentage in the NBA. I’m definitely not referring to the Lakers, who at 30-27 are currently the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference. And I’m most certainly not referring to the USC men’s team, who at 10-16 have been one of college basketball’s biggest disappointments this season.

No, I’m talking about USC Women’s Basketball. In case you haven’t heard, the Women of Troy are back in the national spotlight, and they aren’t here to mess around.

On Friday night, No. 7 USC defeated No. 11 Colorado 87-81 at Galen Center for the Trojans’ seventh consecutive victory. At 21-4 on the season, the Women of Troy sit just one game back of No. 3 Stanford for first place in the Pac-12 Conference. USC also has a legitimate shot to earn a No. 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next month.

It was yet another incredible performance from superstar freshman guard Juju Watkins. Less than a month after dropping a historic 51 points in a road victory over Stanford, Watkins set the Galen Center single-game record with 42, while also adding four blocks four assists, and four steals.

Unlike that faithful night up on The Farm, however, the Trojans were able to get additional scoring from their supporting cast. Senior guards McKenzie Forbes and Kayla Padilla, playing in their penultimate home games, combined for 36 points and nine assists. A big part of that was due to their impressive three-point shooting night, as the two combined to make nine of their 11 shot attempts from behind the arc.

As a team, USC made an incredible 68.4% of its three-point attempts. At halftime, that number was over 83%.

“I gave them an extra day off on Tuesday,” head coach Lindsay Gottlieb joked when asked about what led to the team’s impressive shooting night.

“We tried to figure out the best way we could get looks against Colorado’s pressure. But I mean, they gotta make shots.”

With two top-15 teams squaring off, the Trojans and Buffaloes got a bit chippy with each other. Gottlieb went as far as to compare the game to a boxing match.

“That felt like a heavyweight prize fight on a Friday night,” Gottlieb said. “[Colorado is] really good. They’re tough. They’re veteran. I was proud of the way we stayed together amidst any kind of adversity.”

“I felt like we were locked in and together and could figure out a way to get stops.”

During the second half, Watkins even had to briefly leave the game due to blood on her uniform. When she returned a few minutes later wearing No. 32 instead of her usual 12, she appeared unfazed, and hit several more key shots to ice the victory.

“It’s aggressive,” Watkins said of the game’s physical nature. “I love it, but it gets annoying sometimes.”

“I just try to win the game.”

After defeating the Buffaloes, the Women of Troy now sit tied with No. 9 Oregon State for second place in the Pac-12. And with USC holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Beavers and first-place Stanford, the Trojans have a legitimate shot to win the Pac-12 regular season title, something that they have not done in three decades.

Up next, USC plays its final regular season home game against Utah Sunday. Following a pregame ceremony honoring the Trojans’ seniors, the game will tip off at noon PST.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments