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WOMENS BASKETBALL


Southern Cal 87, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 55

Southern Cal 87, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 55

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES - JuJu Watkins scored 23 points in her NCAA Tournament debut, leading No. 1 seed Southern California to a 87-55 blowout victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The Trojans (27-5) also got 23 points from McKenzie Forbes in a first-round game they dominated from the opening tip.

The 16th-seeded Islanders (23-9) scored the first basket, then the Trojans took over. Watkins hit a 3-pointer for her first points to launch a 21-0 run in which five different players scored.

The Islanders managed just one other basket in the first and it came as time expired. They scored 16 points in the second quarter and trailed 36-20 at halftime.

Mireia Aguado, one of six players from Spain on the roster, scored 15 points and Alecia Westbrook added 12 for the Islanders.

USC poured it on in the third, outscoring the Islanders 35-21. The Trojans closed on a 20-5 run to lead 71-41 going into the fourth. Kayla Padilla hit consecutive 3-pointers and Forbes made two straight 3s of her own with Watkins on the bench resting.

Watkins was 8 of 18 from the floor and 1 of 6 from 3-point range. She made 6 of 7 free throws, had five rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals before sitting down with 3:37 remaining.

Watkins, an Associated Press All-American, has seen about every defensive scheme possible this season, but there was little the Islanders could do to contain her. The freshman’s 51-point game at Stanford was the most by any Division I player this season and she broke Caitlin Clark’s record with 13 games of 30-plus points in her first season.

The Trojans had 14 blocks and 14 steals and forced the Islanders into 19 turnovers. Rayah Marshall added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Southern Cal athletics press release

March 23, 2024





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