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WOMENS BASKETBALL


Southern Cal 68, Oregon 54

Southern Cal 68, Oregon 54

BY DOUG PADILLA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES - JuJu Watkins scored 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, and No. 9 Southern California pulled away late for a 68-54 victory over Oregon.

Rayah Marshall and McKenzie Forbes each scored 16 points as the Trojans (12-1, 2-1 Pac-12) delivered a 2-0 week after dropping from No. 6 in last week’s poll following a 71-64 loss to cross-town rival UCLA. It was USC’s 16th consecutive home victory dating back to last season.

Watkins and Marshall each had nine rebounds. It was the second-lowest scoring game of the season for the freshman Watkins after she entered with a team-best 26.9 points per game. Watkins also had six assists.

Grace VanSlooten scored 18 points, while Chance Gray and Sofia Bell each scored 11 added for Oregon (9-7, 0-3), which dropped both games on their trip to Los Angeles. Phillipina Kyei scored 10 points with 11 rebounds for the Ducks.

It was the Ducks’ second consecutive loss to the Trojans, both at Los Angeles, since their 12-game winning streak in the matchup ended in last February. Oregon was ranked in the last nine victories of the streak, but was not ranked in the past two defeats.

Both teams got off to a sluggish start after an early-afternoon tip, with USC going 1 of 6 from the field to start the game and Oregon going 0 of 7 after making their first two shots for an early lead.

Oregon led late in the first quarter before Taylor Bigby made a 3-pointer to put the Trojans up 14-13 after the opening 10 minutes. USC eased into the game by shooting 53.3% from the floor in the second quarter for a 30-23 lead at halftime.

Oregon remained in striking distance after three quarters with USC taking a 50-44 lead into the final period.

The Ducks opened the fourth quarter on a 5-0 scoring burst capped by a 3-point play from VanSlooten to pull within a point. It was the closest Oregon had been since their lead in the final minute of the first quarter.

Watkins answered with a 3-pointer to take the advantage with 8:53 remaining. That basket started an 8-1 scoring run for the Trojans.

USC took its second double-digit lead of the second half when Marshall made a layup with 3:01 remaining.

THE TAKEAWAY

Oregon: What appeared to be a rugged schedule to start conference play was just that for the Ducks, who have Pac-12 defeats against Oregon State, UCLA and USC, all on the road. The Ducks now get five of their next seven games at home. The last of that seven-game stretch is a rematch against Oregon State.

Southern California: Consecutive victories over Oregon State and Oregon at home give the Trojans momentum heading into next weekend’s rematch against No. 2 UCLA at home. USC’s only loss of the season was at UCLA on Dec. 30.


January 7, 2024





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