USC star JuJu Watkins is one of the most popular players in all of college basketball and she showed why once again Friday. She exploded for a career-high 51 points to lead the 15th-ranked Trojans past No. 4 Stanford, nearly outscoring the Cardinal by herself in the 67-58 upset.
Her 51-point outburst is the most by any Division I player this season and the most in USC program history.
Watkins shot 14 of 26 from the field, 6 of 11 from the 3-point range and only missed two of her 19 free-throw attempts on the road in Palo Alto. The guard added team-high 11 rebounds and game-high four steals. She was even tied for a team-high two assists.
JuJu Watkins broke Cheryl Miller’s @USCWBB record for points by a freshman in a game.
◽️6/11 3-PT FG
She accounted for over 75% of USC’s points tonight in an upset win vs. No. 4 Stanford. pic.twitter.com/1efdDAPFGY
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) February 3, 2024
Senior guard McKenzie Forbes was the only other Trojan player in double figures, adding 12 points of her own. Rayah Marshall and Clarice Akunwafo chipped in two points apiece for USC.
Stanford senior Cameron Brink led her team, just missing out on a triple-double. The likely top-five pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, eight blocks and three assists. Brink’s rebound and block numbers were both game highs.
Caitlin Clark is a no-brainer for our midseason All-America team. Who else was picked?
Cardinal junior Kiki Iriafen, Stanford’s leading scorer this season, narrowly missed out on a double-double of her own, adding 16 points and nine boards.
But without question, Watkins was the story of the evening. Not only was she seven points off from matching Stanford’s point total as a team, Watkins made more 3s than the Cardinal and was one attempt and make off from tying their total as a team from the free-throw line.
Watkins entered Friday averaging 25.8 points per game, trailing only Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (32.1). Watkins also leads the Trojans in assists (3.4) and steals (2.6) per game.
USC improves to 15-4 and 5-4 in Pac-12 play, as Stanford falls to 19-3 and 8-2 in conference play.
(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)