Our Clients:

Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Mar 31, 2024 12:43 am

JuJu Watkins (30 points), USC fend off Baylor to reach Elite Eight

Baylor, Southern California

PORTLAND, Ore. — JuJu Watkins scored 30 points, including nine of Southern California’s final 10 points, as the Trojans held off Baylor 74-70 Saturday in the Portland Regional semifinals.

Rayah Marshall contributed 11 points and 16 rebounds and McKenzie Forbes scored 14 points for No. 1 seed USC (29-5), which advances to Monday’s Elite Eight against UConn (32-5).

Sarah Andrews scored 17 points, Jada Walker added 15 and Dariana Littlepage-Buggs chipped in with 12 points and 11 rebounds for No. 5 seed Baylor (26-8).

Watkins scored nine straight points — the last seven from the foul line — over the final 3:13. The Trojans’ prize freshman had a poor shooting game, finishing 8-for-28 from the field. But she buried 12 of 13 free-throw attempts.

“We knew Baylor was going to bring the heat,” Watkins said. “They’re known for their defense. I would say it was an off night for me personally. I was glad I got the opportunity to help my team with some free throws and stuff like that.”

Neither team shot well. USC fired at 39.4 percent from the field (26-for-66) while Baylor converted at a 38.6 clip (27-for-70). The Trojans sank 17 of 21 from the free throw line compared to 7 of 12 for the Bears.

“The difference in the game was the foul line,” Baylor coach Nicki Collen said. “Our players battled like crazy against JuJu, made her inefficient, made her take tough shots.”

Baylor closed a six-point halftime deficit to 41-39 early in the third quarter, but Watkins drilled back-to-back 3s to make it 47-41. The Bears seized the lead at 50-49 on an Andrews trey with 2:55 left in the third. Baylor took a 57-53 edge into the final period.

To that point, Watkins had 21 points but on 7-for-24 shooting.

USC scored the first six points of the fourth quarter and regained the lead at 59-57 on a 3-pointer by Forbes. The teams battled back and forth, with Watkins converting a three-point play to push the Trojans in front 67-64 with 3:13 remaining. Watkins hit a pair at the line to make it 69-64 with 1:49 to play.

Andrews drilled a 3 to cut the margin to 69-67 with 1:38 to go. Neither team scored again until Watkins sank two foul shots to up the Trojans’ lead to 71-67 with 26.4 seconds on the clock.

Then it was Andrews, connecting again from beyond the arc to cut the difference to 71-70 with 22.8 seconds left. The Bears fouled Watkins, who drained two free throws to make it 73-70 with 19.5 ticks left. Andrews missed a long 3-point attempt and Marshall was fouled on the rebound. She split a pair at the line to make it 74-70 with 8.2 ticks left to seal the verdict.

“JuJu just has a poise about her,” USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games, a lot of situations. I think we understand how to finish a game, how to close it out.”

Watkins scored 15 points as USC took a 37-31 lead into halftime. The Trojans’ meal ticket was 5-for-16 from the field.

Baylor’s problem in the first half was shooting. The Bears were 11-for-34 from the field (32.4 percent), including 3-for-12 from beyond the arc. No Baylor player had more than six points at the break.

Watkins had eight points to help stake USC to an 18-16 advantage after one quarter. Baylor was 1-for-7 on 3-point attempts in the period. The Trojans were in front 35-24 when the Bears used a 7-0 run to get to within 35-31 late in the second quarter.

–Kerry Eggers, Field Level Media

You may also like

oilers, kings
Apr 23, 2024 1:23 am

Zach Hyman’s hat trick powers Oilers’ rout of Kings

Zach Hyman collected his first career playoff hat trick in a four-point game and Connor McDavid posted a playoff-best five assists to lead the host Edmonton Oilers to a 7-4…

nuggets, lakers
Apr 23, 2024 1:02 am

Jamal Murray, Nuggets sink Lakers at buzzer

Jamal Murray hit a step-back jumper as time expired, and the host Denver Nuggets rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 101-99 in Game 2 of…

Golden Knights, Stars
Apr 23, 2024 1:02 am

Knights edge Stars to start title defense

Logan Thompson made 27 saves in his NHL playoff debut as the visiting Vegas Golden Knights began their Stanley Cup title defense with a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars…

More Recap News

oilers, kings
Apr 23, 2024 1:23 am

Zach Hyman’s hat trick powers Oilers’ rout of Kings

Zach Hyman collected his first career playoff hat trick in a four-point game and Connor McDavid posted a playoff-best five assists to lead the host Edmonton Oilers to a 7-4…

nuggets, lakers
Apr 23, 2024 1:02 am

Jamal Murray, Nuggets sink Lakers at buzzer

Golden Knights, Stars
Apr 23, 2024 1:02 am

Knights edge Stars to start title defense

Orioles, Angels
Apr 23, 2024 12:54 am

Orioles hang on to beat Angels for 3rd straight win

San Francisco Giants
Apr 23, 2024 12:36 am

Keaton Winn pitches Giants to victory against Mets

Read all
fb-post
advertisment
title-icon

Upcoming events

See all odds
Array