Los Angeles, CA – The No. 9 USC Trojans (13-1) defeated their crosstown rival No. 2 UCLA Bruins (14-1) 73-65, handing them their first loss of the season in front of a sold-out record-breaking attendance of 10,657 at the Galen Center.
The women of Troy avenged their lone loss of the season and broke a 9-game losing streak to the Bruins. Freshman sensation Juju Watkins led all scorers with a 32-point performance to go along with 10 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.
Head Coach Lindsay Gotlieb spoke about what this win means to the program “ It took a while for us to get this win since I’ve been here but it’s really meaningful for our program. It’s not the last good thing that will happen but we are going to appreciate this day for what it means for women’s basketball in Southern California and for the USC Trojans.’
In the first half, USC shot 36% from the field, making 12 of 33 attempts from the field. The Trojans’ defense was more of the story in the first half, they applied pressure to the UCLA guards and scored 16 points off of the 15 UCLA turnovers.
Mckenzie Forbes, the Harvard transfer, fueled the Trojans’ 11-0 first-quarter surge with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Juju Watkins scored 10 of her aforementioned 32 points in the second quarter to help spark a 15-0 run and allow USC to reach their largest lead of the game at 16 points.
The Bruins shot 30% from the field in the first half, struggling only making 7 of 23 attempts. UCLA starters Jones, Osborne, and Dugalic were held scoreless throughout the first half.
The Trojans led 34-19 at halftime.
In the second half, Charisma Osborne put her squad on her back scoring 25 second-half points for the Bruins. UCLA made 15 of 32 shots from the field for 46% and outscored the Trojans 46-39.
Mckenzie Forbes was the second-leading scorer for the Trojans with 18 points. “We showed so much what we’re capable of, not just to fans but to ourselves,” Forbes said.
The Trojans shot 50% from the field in the second half connecting on 10-20 attempts.
The Bruins cut a 13-point USC lead down to 4 points after manufacturing a 9-0 run but a jumper from Juju Watkins with 2:22 to go put the Trojans back in control before they finished the game at the charity strike.
Juju continues to leave her mark on the program and her mark on the game of women’s basketball. “She cares so much about the team, about the program, about winning,” Gottlieb said.
The team is set to face No. 19 Utah, with a matchup against former Trojans star Alissa Pili scheduled for Friday.