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Top-Seeded USC Women’s Basketball Goes Up Against UConn In NCAA Elite Eight



Top-Seeded USC Women’s Basketball Goes Up Against UConn In NCAA Elite Eight
Google News Recentlyheard

Google News Recentlyheard

Girls’s Basketball | March 31, 2024

ELITE EIGHT — April 1 | 6:15 p.m. PT (Moda Middle | Portland, Ore.)
[1] USC (29-5) vs. [3] UConn (32-5)

Sequence Report: USC trails 0-2
First Assembly: UConn 68, USC 44 [12/7/02 • Storrs, Conn.]
Final Assembly: UConn 72, USC 69 [12/7/04 • Los Angeles]
TV: ESPN (Expertise: Debbie Antonelli, Beth Mowins, Angel Grey) STATS

A No. 1 seed within the NCAA Match for the primary time since 1986, USC (29-5) has punched a ticket to the Elite Eight for the primary time in 30 years. After beating Baylor 74-70 within the Candy 16, the Trojans are actually within the Portland Regional Ultimate. USC is now set for a conflict with No. 3 seed UConn (32-5) at 6:15 p.m. on Monday (April 1) on the Moda Middle in Portland. The winner will advance to the Ultimate 4 in Cleveland.

• Coming into the Elite Eight, USC is now 32-15 in NCAA competitors, with two nationwide titles received (1983 and 1984).
• That is the Trojans’ 18th journey to the NCAA Match.
• USC’s No. 1 seed in 2024 is its fifth prime seed all-time, final earned in 1986.
• USC’s is making back-to-back NCAA appearances for the primary time since 2006.
• USC’s final Elite Eight look was in 1994, when USC fell to Louisiana Tech 75-66 in Fayetteville, Ark.
• USC was a No. 8 seed within the 2023 NCAA tourney, falling within the first spherical to South Dakota State in time beyond regulation 62-57 in Blacksburg, Va.
• USC final earned an NCAA automated berth in 2014 after profitable USC’s first Pac-12 Match championship.
• Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb has led three totally different packages to the NCAA Match — UC Santa Barbara (2009), California (seven appearances in eight seasons) and USC (2023 and 2024).
• USC has performed 9 different groups within the 68-team subject of the 2024 NCAA Match, posting a 13-4 file in opposition to these opponents this season [No. 2 seed Stanford (2-0); No. 2 seed UCLA (12-1), No. 2 seed Ohio State (1-0), No. 3 seed Oregon State (2-0), No. 5 seed Colorado (1-1), No. 5 seed Utah (0-2), No. 11 seed Arizona (3-0), No. 12 seed FGCU (1-0) and No. 13 seed UC Irvine (1-0].
• USC is one in every of seven Pac-12 groups on this 12 months’s NCAA bracket, and one in every of two within the Elite Eight.
• Earlier than this 12 months, the final time USC had performed in and hosted NCAA competitors was 1994. 

ESPN is televising the Portland Regional, with Debbie Antonelli, Beth Mowins and Angel Grey on the calls. USC video games are also dwell on KABC 790 and streamed at attention and the USC Trojans GameDay app with Jordan Moore on the calls.

IN THE POLLS        
USC’s No. 21 preseason nationwide rating marked the fourth time the Trojans have appeared in preseason AP and USA Right now polls since 2005. It was the very best preseason rating for USC in that span, following No. 23 in 2011, No. 22 and 2006 and No. 24 (AP) and No. 22 (USA Right now) in 2005. Within the ultimate AP ballot (March 18), USC ranks No. 3 within the nation — matching its highest rating since 1986. USC additionally ranks No. 3 in the newest USA Right now Coaches Ballot (launched March 19). 

QUICK HITS        
• Now 29-5 total, USC has recorded its most wins since going 31-5 in 1985-86 underneath head coach Linda Sharp.
• Ranked No. 3 within the nationwide AP ballot, USC holds its highest rating since being No. 3 within the ultimate 1986 ballot.
• USC’s 23 regular-season wins marked its most such victories since 1993-94.
• USC’s No. 2 seed for the Pac-12 Match was its highest-ever seeding for the tourney.
• HC Lindsay Gottlieb is the primary coach to ever lead two totally different Pac-12 packages to the convention title recreation — she led Cal to 2012 & 2015 title video games and received 2024 Pac-12 championship with USC.
• At 13-5 in Pac-12 play, USC collected its most convention wins in a season since 1996-97.
• USC completed Pac-12 play with a program file of six straight convention highway wins.
• With its 10-0 begin to this season, USC recorded back-to-back 9-0 begins for simply the second time in program historical past, going again to the 1983-84 (10-0) and 1984-85 (10-0) seasons.
• With regular-season wins over then-No. 7 Ohio State, No. 2 UCLA and at No. 4 Stanford, USC recorded three wins over top-10 opponents throughout the common season for the primary time since 1985-86.
• USC’s seven straight Pac-12 wins was its longest single-season convention win streak since 2004-05.
• USC was ranked within the nation’s prime 10 for 10 straight weeks in AP polls from Nov. 13, 2023-Feb. 12, 2024.
• In all, USC has been ranked as a top-10 staff in all however two weeks of competitors this season.
• USC was ranked No. 6 within the nationwide AP ballot for 5 straight weeks earlier than transferring to No. 9 on Jan. 1 following the Trojans’ loss at No. 2 UCLA.
• USC is 8-4 in opposition to groups presently ranked within the NET top-25.
Rayah Marshall has taken over from Paula McGee as USC No. 3 all-time blocks chief (233 profession blocks).
JuJu Watkins has develop into the sixth USC participant ever to be named a First Staff All-American (becoming a member of Cheryl Miller, Pam McGee, Paula McGee, Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson).
• Her 51-point recreation at Stanford set a USC file and is probably the most by any DI participant within the nation this season.
• Watkins’ 13 video games of 30-plus factors is a USC all-time file (males’s and girls’s) in a season and beats out Iowa’s Caitlin Clark earlier file of 12 for probably the most such video games for a freshman over the past 25 seasons.
• Watkins’ 42 factors vs. Colorado on Feb. 23 is probably the most factors ever scored by a USC basketball participant (male or feminine) at Galen Middle.
• Watkins now ranks No. 2 all-time in single-season scoring by a real freshman within the nation (891 factors) — seven factors from the file set in 1984 by San Diego State’s Tina Hutchinson.
• Along with her 891 factors scored this season, Watkins has scored extra single-season factors than any USC participant — male or feminine.
McKenzie Forbes has hit at the least one 3-pointer in all however three video games this season.
• Each McKenzie Forbes and Kayla Williams scored their 1,000th profession factors throughout this season.
Kayla Padilla scored her 1,five hundredth profession level throughout this season.
• USC is 15-0 this season when holding opponents underneath 60 factors and is 22-0 when USC scores 70 or extra.
• Eight gamers earned Dean’s Record honors with Fall GPAs of three.5 or increased: Clarice Akunwafo, Taylor Bigby, Kaitlyn Davis, Roxane Makolo, Kayla Padilla, Malia Samuels, JuJu Watkins and Kayla Williams.

USC gutted out an intense ultimate 4 minutes to claw out of a three-point gap to beat No. 5 seed Baylor 74-70 and safe the Trojans’ first journey to the NCAA Elite Eight since 1994. In a battle that noticed 11 lead modifications, USC made an 8-0 run to get again on prime within the fourth quarter, whereas JuJu Watkins labored her option to her 14th 30-point recreation of the season to assist her Trojans earn the Candy 16 victory. The lead modified arms 5 instances within the first body earlier than USC managed a 10-point lead throughout the second, and the Trojans would grip a 37-31 halftime benefit. USC had shot 40 p.c from the ground in these first 20 minutes, bettering Baylor’s 32 p.c effort from the ground. The groups had been even on the boards at 23 apiece, with USC’s Rayah Marshall hauling in a whopping 11 first-half rebounds. Baylor heated up within the third and shot 65 p.c from the ground to work again on prime and lead it 57-53 coming into the fourth. An 8-0 fourth-quarter run by the Trojans erased a three-point gap and had the highest seeds main it with 3:13 to to go, and USC fended off the Bears the remainder of the way in which. USC completed out the sport taking pictures 39.4 p.c total to edge out Baylor’s 38.6 p.c. The Bears received the battle of the boards 44-41 and hit 9 3-pointers, however USC’s 5 threes and a 17-of-21 effort from the free-throw line helped the Trojans safe the Candy 16 win. USC was led by Watkins’ game-high 30 factors, which included a 12-of-13 outing from the free-throw line. McKenzie Forbes was subsequent with 14 factors for USC, whereas Rayah Marshall had her 14th double-double of the season with 11 factors and 16 rebounds. Baylor acquired 17 factors from Sarah Andrew, 15 from Jada Walker and a double-double from Darianna Littlepage-Buggs with 12 factors and 11 rebounds. Dre’una Edwards additionally collected 12 rebounds for the Bears.
– With 30 factors, Watkins now ranks No. 2 all-time on the NCAA freshman scoring record with 891 factors this season.
– Watkins now ranks No. 3 within the Pac-12 for many factors scored by any participant in a single season.
– Watkins now has had 14 video games of 30 or extra factors scored this season, including to her USC file.
– With 11 factors and 16 rebounds, Marshall recorded her 14th double-double of the season and the thirty fourth of her profession. She has posted a double-double in six of her final eight video games.
– In going 2-for-2 from 3-point vary, Forbes has made at the least one 3-pointer in 31 video games this season.
– Over the past 4 video games, Forbes has made 50 p.c of her 3-point makes an attempt (15-for-30).
– USC is now 22-0 when scoring 70 or extra factors in a recreation this season.
– USC held Baylor to 38.6% taking pictures for the sport; Baylor entered the sport averaging 44.5% this season.
– With 12 free throws made, Watkins prolonged her USC file free of charge throws made in a single season with 232. 
– This was her eighth recreation this season registering double figures in free throws made.
– Now 29-5 total, USC has recorded its most wins since going 31-5 in 1985-86 underneath head coach Linda Sharp.

USC exerted its defensive energy within the first and fourth quarters and held No. 8 seed Kansas to a season-low 55 factors because the Trojans punched their ticket to the Candy Sixteen for the primary time in 30 years with a 73-55 win over the Jayhawks at Galen Middle. In entrance of a crowd of 8,941, USC’s JuJu Watkins recorded a double-double whereas McKenzie Forbes landed six of USC’s season-high 13 3-pointers on the night time. The Trojans by no means trailed, however did need to fend off the Jayhawks after they closed to inside one level late within the third quarter. USC responded with a 10-0 run that stretched into the fourth to create area, and the Trojans held Kansas to simply 9 factors within the ultimate body whereas pouring out 20 of their very own to press on to victory. USC rode a wave of eight first-half 3-pointers to steer issues 33-24 by halftime. The Trojans by no means trailed in these first 20 minutes, additionally benefiting from 16 factors off of 12 Jayhawk turnovers. USC was taking pictures higher from 3-point vary (42.1 p.c) than from the ground total (35.3 p.c) within the first half, whereas Kansas was a 34.6 p.c total and had landed one 3-pointer. The Jayhawks had been profitable the battle of the boards by the break, forward 23-16. By the ultimate buzzer, Kansas was nonetheless forward on the rebounding entrance with a 40-39 lead, however USC had upped its offense to complete out the sport at 37.3 p.c, with 13 threes landed ultimately. Kansas completed at 35.7 p.c total, and had dedicated 18 turnovers that USC transformed into 25 factors. Watkins offered USC’s first and final factors of the night time, ending up with a game-high 28 factors together with 11 rebounds to tally her eighth double-double. Forbes completed with 20 factors for the Trojans, whereas Clarice Akunwafo served up a booming six blocks on the defensive finish. Kansas acquired 22 factors from S’Mya Nichols and a double-double from Taiyanna Jackson with 10 factors and 18 rebounds.
– USC is now 15-0 when holding an opponent underneath 60 factors.
– USC tied its season-high of 3-pointers made with 13.
– Along with her career-high six 3-pointers made, Forbes has hit at the least one 3-pointer in 30 video games this season.
– Akunwafo had a career-high six blocks and a season-high 9 rebounds.
– With 28 factors and 11 rebounds Watkins recorded her eighth double-double of the season. 
– With six free-throws made, Watkins is now USC’s file holder in free-throws made in a single season with 261. 
– With three 3-pointers, Padilla has now hit at the least three 3-pointers in 12 video games this season.
– This win secured Lindsay Gotttlieb’s second journey to the Candy Sixteen as a head coach (Final look: 2013 season with California)
– USC held Kansas to a season-low 55 factors. 

FIRST-ROUND VICTORY                
USC rode a robust all-around efficiency with 10 Trojans scoring on the offensive finish and a whopping 14 blocks delivered on the defensive finish in an 87-55 win over No. 16 seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the NCAA First Spherical on the Galen Middle. A crowd of 8,386 followers noticed USC freshman JuJu Watkins break Trojan nice Cheryl Miller’s single-season scoring file, now with 833 factors, whereas the Trojans’ 14 blocks marked the second most in a recreation in program historical past. USC now holds a 27-5 total file because the Trojans step into the NCAA Second Spherical for the primary time since 2006. USC dished out 10 blocks within the first quarter and crafted a 21-0 scoring rally to take early management of issues. The Trojans would lead it 36-20 at halftime, having shot 46.7 p.c from the ground to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s 23.5 p.c. The Islanders had been forward on the boards 22-20, whereas USC’s JuJu Watkins had 15 factors in place within the first half. McKenzie Forbes offered a complete 16 factors all her personal within the third quarter alone to assist USC lead it 71-41 coming into the fourth. By the ultimate buzzer, USC had pinned up 14 blocks — second most ever in a recreation and most since 1984 — and had shot a steamy 52.3 p.c from the ground total. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ended up a 33.3 p.c, and the Trojans wound up profitable the battle of the boards 40-37.USC was led by a game-high 23 factors apiece from freshman Watkins and McKenzie Forbes, whereas Rayah Marshall checked in with double-double on 10 factors and 11 rebounds and Kayla Padilla added 10 factors for the Trojans. The Islanders acquired 15 factors from Violeta Verano and 12 from Alecia Westbrook. 
– With 23 factors, Watkins now holds USC’s single-season scoring file — male or feminine — now with 833 factors to date this season.
– Watkins now additionally ranks No. 3 all-time in single-season scoring by any D1 freshman.
– USC’s 14 blocks is the second most in a recreation in program historical past (file is eighteen vs. Pepperdine on 12/4/84)
– With 5 blocks, Akunwafo set a brand new profession excessive.
– With 10 factors and 11 rebounds, Marshall recorded her thirteenth double-double of the season and thirty third of her profession.
– Marshall has now recorded double-digit rebounds within the final six video games.
– With three 3-pointers at present, Padilla has now hit at the least three 3-pointers in 11 video games this season
– RS SR India Otto set a season-high level whole with 5 factors tonight.
– Forbes hit her highest subject purpose proportion in going 9-of-14 (.642) from the sphere.
– USC is now 13-0 when scoring over 80 factors in a recreation and 14-0 when holding an opponent to underneath 60 factors.
– USC is now 21-1 when outrebounding its opponents. 
– USC’s 87-55 win marks its largest margin of victory within the NCAA First Spherical since 1982 (vs. Kent State, 99-55).

Along with her 42-point effort at Oregon, JuJu Watkins set a brand new USC file in marking her eleventh 30-plus-point recreation of the season — beating the all-time single-season file of 10 held by Cheryl Miller. She had stolen the freshman-season file from Lisa Leslie and Pam McGee together with her fourth such outing simply six video games into her Trojan profession. Again-to-back 30-point efforts vs. Cal Poly and vs. San Diego adopted a 31-point outing vs. Penn State on Nov. 22, giving Watkins three consecutive 30-point video games. That tied one other USC file set by Miller, who additionally had three straight 30-point outings throughout her junior 1984-85 season. Her USC record-breaking 51 factors scored at Stanford stands as probably the most factors scored by a D1 participant in a recreation this season. With 27.0 factors per recreation, Watkins ranks No. 2 within the nation in scoring, and her USC-record 30-plus outings tally now stands at 14 this season — most in a season by any USC basketball participant, male or feminine.

FORBES LISTED                
McKenzie Forbes, who was a two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week whereas enjoying at Cal years in the past, secured her first Pac-12 Participant of the Week honors and likewise locked up a variety as an Ann Meyers Drysdale Nationwide Participant of the Week after tallying a season-high 17 factors vs. Cal State Fullerton after which greater than doubling that effort with a career-high 36 factors in an 85-77 highway win at Lengthy Seaside State. Her 36 factors was probably the most scored in a recreation by a Trojan since Mariya Moore scored 36 in 2019. Additionally in opposition to the Seaside, Forbes made a career-high 13 free throws on a career-high 16 makes an attempt and picked up a season-high seven rebounds. She scored in double figures six straight video games from 11/28-12/30. Lately, Forbes picked up one other set of nationwide accolades with a spot on the Cheryl Miller Small Ahead of the Yr High 10 Record. An All-Pac-12 Staff honoree and the Pac-12 Match Most Excellent Participant, she’s hit at the least one 3-pointer in all however three of USC’s video games this season.

BLOCK LOCK        
Protection was one in every of USC’s strengths final season with the assistance of Rayah Marshall, who earned 2023 All-Pac12 Staff honors as she led the convention in whole rebounds with 322 and was second within the nation with 98 blocks as a sophomore. Now a junior and coming off a summer time enjoying for the USA within the FIBA Girls’s AmeriCup, Marshall’s shot blocking and rebounding means coupled together with her newfound management has made her a vital position participant for the Girls of Troy as she stands tall within the paint as a middle. After tacking up her twenty first profession double-double in USC’s season opener, Marshall additionally added to her spectacular blocks streak, which prolonged to 53 straight video games till being interrupted on Nov. 13. As of March 25, she ranks No. 22 within the nation with a mark of two.1 blocks per recreation, and she or he has recorded at the least one block in all however three video games by which she’s performed this season. After including two blocks to her tally on Jan. 5, Marshall took over as USC’s No. 3 all-time shot blocker — a spot that had been held by Trojan nice Paula McGee. Marshall was lately named to the Naismith Defensive Participant of the Yr Watch Record.

USC claimed its second Pac-12 Match championship a decade after profitable its first, having earned its highest-ever seeding because the No. 2 seed within the 2024 bracket. The Trojans claimed their third win of the season over Arizona with a 65-62 victory within the quarterfinals earlier than squaring off in opposition to crosstown rival UCLA for the third time of their semifinal bout. It took double time beyond regulation to resolve that semi, with USC pushing previous the Bruins within the second OT to win it 80-70 and earn a spot within the convention match ultimate for the third time in program historical past. Up in opposition to top-seeded and No. 2 ranked Stanford, USC broke a tie to steer it early within the second quarter and stayed out forward the remainder of the way in which with a commanding efficiency from the Trojans in a 74-61 championship victory. McKenzie Forbes, who scored 26 factors for USC within the ultimate, was named the Pac-12 Match Most Excellent Participant, and JuJu Watkins, who had 33 for USC within the semifinal vs. UCLA, was named to the Pac-12 All-Match Staff.
– JR Rayah Marshall recorded double-doubles in all three video games on the tourney, as much as 12 double-doubles this season and with 32 in her USC profession to rank No. 8 all-time.
– Marshall has recorded double-digit rebounds in 5 straight video games.
– Marshall is now stands alongside within the USC file books at No. 10 all-time in profession rebounds with 841.
– GS Kaitlyn Davis served up a season-high 5 assists. 
– With 59 factors throughout the three video games, FR JuJu Watkins has now scored the second most factors in a single season at USC with 810, behind Cheryl Miller’s file of 814 in 1985-86.
– Watkins is now 4 factors away from the No. 3 mark nationally in whole factors by a D1 true freshman.
– Watkins recorded her seventh double-double as a Trojans in USC’s win over UCLA.
– Additionally vs. UCLA, GS Kaitlyn Davis recorded a season-high 16 rebounds — two off her profession excessive set whereas at Columbia.
– USC had misplaced all 4 earlier conferences with UCLA on the Pac-12 Match (2022, 2020, 2010, 2008).
– It was the third Pac-12 Match title recreation look for HC Lindsay Gottlieb, who’s the primary coach to ever lead two totally different Pac-12 packages to the title recreation (led Cal to 2012 & 2015 title video games).
– USC has now received two Pac-12 Match titles (2014 & 2024), making the Trojans simply the third staff to win a number of convention match titles (Stanford & Oregon).
– The final time USC beat Stanford twice in a season was a three-win efficiency in 1986-87.
– USC has now recorded 5 wins over top-10 ranked opponents this season — probably the most such wins in a single season since additionally profitable 5 in 1984-85. 

WE GOT GOTTLIEB             
Simply earlier than her staff was to earn its first No. 1 seed within the NCAA Match since 1986, USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb was listed amongst 10 different semifinalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Yr award. In her third season at USC, Gottlieb has guided her No. 3 Girls of Troy to their highest nationwide rating since 1986, coming off USC’s run to the Pac-12 Match Championship. That run included wins over two top-10 opponents — No. 7 UCLA and No. 2 Stanford — to provide USC its most wins over top-10 opponents since 1985-86 with 5 such victories. Additionally this season, the Trojans have captured probably the most wins (26) in a season since 1993-94. Gottlieb has since been named a finalist for the award.

TOP-10 TAKEDOWN            
USC notched its first season-opening win over a ranked opponent since 1990 with an upset victory over No. 7 Ohio State on the Corridor of Fame Sequence at T-Cellular Area in Las Vegas. That 1990 upset win came visiting a No. 7 Texas staff, with Trojan nice Lisa Leslie delivering 30 factors in her freshman debut at USC. Becoming, then, that at present’s assertion win by the Girls of Troy featured a 32-point effort from true freshman JuJu Watkins. Leslie and Watkins each had been named Gatorade Nationwide Gamers of the Yr as seniors in highschool earlier than signing on to USC. Up 46-28 at halftime, USC was taking pictures 51.4 p.c from the ground in these first 20 minutes, with Watkins holding 16 factors and Rayah Marshall already at a double-double with 12 factors and 10 rebounds by the break. Ohio State, which made simply two subject foals within the second quarter whereas winding up at 29.6 p.c taking pictures the primary half. The Buckeyes would bounce again, nonetheless, benefitting from a swaying foul rely and virtually matching USC’s second-quarter effort in outscoring USC 30-10 within the third. A stalwart effort from the Trojans would pull them again forward within the fourth, heading off the No. 7 Buckeyes to win the day in Vegas. USC completed out the recreation taking pictures 51 p.c total to outpace Ohio State’s 40-percent effort. USC additionally outrebounded the Buckeyes 43-28. Led by freshman Watkins’ game-high 32 factors, USC additionally noticed Marshall web her twenty first profession double-double with a ultimate 18 factors and 17 rebounds. Marshall additionally prolonged her spectacular blocks streak to 52 straight video games with two extra tallied at present, and added a career-high six steals. Additionally hitting double digits for the Trojans was McKenzie Forbes with 11 whereas Kaitlyn Davis added 9 rebounds for USC and Watkins dished out 5 assists. Ohio State was paced by Jacy Sheldon’s 28 factors together with 16 from Taylor Thierry.  
– USC’s win over No. 7 Ohio State was its first season-opening victory over a ranked opponent since 1990, when a No. 25 USC staff upset No. 7 Texas 88-77 (11/25/90).
– With 32 factors, Watkins beat Lisa Leslie’s 30-point effort in her first recreation as a USC freshman — recorded in that aforementioned 1990 season opener.
– Watkins’ 32 factors scored was probably the most by a USC (or any Pac-12) freshman since Alissa Pili (32 factors) in 2020.
– Solely two different USC freshmen have scored greater than 32 factors in a recreation — Cheryl Miller (39 factors vs. Northwestern, 11/30/82) and Lisa Leslie (33 factors at Cal, 1/17/91).
– Marshall recorded her twenty first profession double-double with 18 factors and 17 rebounds.
– With two blocks, Marshall prolonged her streak to 52 straight video games with at the least one block.
– Marshall additionally recorded a career-high six steals.
– 5 gamers scored their first factors as Trojans: Watkins (32 factors), Forbes (11), Padilla (8), Davis (4) and Samuels (2).
– USC’s final win over a top-10 opponent had been a 55-46 victory over No. 2 Stanford final season (1/13/23).

TOP TALENT            
For simply the second time in program historical past, USC welcomed the Gatorade Nationwide Ladies Basketball Participant of the Yr to Troy, with the addition of freshman JuJu Watkins. Watkins follows in the footsteps of one other Los Angeles native, Lisa Leslie, a Trojan nice who was the Gatorade Participant of the Yr in 1990 on her means into USC. Watkins picked up All-Pac-12 Preseason Honorable Point out, and has been named to the Naismith and Wood watch lists. Lately, the phenom was named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award High 10 Record in addition to the Wade Watch and Naismith Midseason Watch Record. She’s additionally a semifinalist for the celebrated Sullivan Award.

VETERAN STATUS            
Along with Marshall, USC boasts a robust group of returners from final season’s success. Now a senior, guard Kayla Williams picked up 2023 Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Point out, having began all 31 video games as a dependable backcourt defender for the staff. Additionally again for extra in 2023-24 is redshirt sophomore guard Taylor Bigby, who brings size and sharpshooting to the perimeter, the place fifth-year guard India Otto is also a confirmed menace. Now with two years underneath her belt at USC, 6-6 middle Clarice Akunwafo is again to assist man the paint as a junior.

DEPTH CHARGE            
Freshman Malia Samuels comes into the season having been named Washington’s 2022 3A Participant of the Yr, including level guard savvy and defensive skills to the squad. USC’s guard depth is intensified as redshirt sophomore guard Dominique Darius steps on the court docket this season for her first motion as a Trojan following her midseason switch from UCLA. And after redshirting her first season, guard Aaliyah Gayles made her Trojan debut as effectively this 12 months.

GRAD GREATS                
With a confirmed eye for expertise, Lindsay Gottlieb added 4 graduate transfers to the 2023-24 Trojan roster. Three — Kaitlyn Davis, McKenzie Forbes and Kayla Padilla — had been standouts within the Ivy League, and one — Roxane Makolo — boasts worldwide expertise with Staff Canada. A confirmed level guard in her time at Penn, Padilla joins the Trojans as a three-time All-Ivy First Staff choice. Her velocity and basketball IQ will probably be an asset to the staff for the upcoming season. Marshall and Akunwafo will probably be supported within the paint with Columbia ahead Davis, whose power and agility make her extraordinarily troublesome to defend. With depth comes versatility as Forbes returns to her house state after three sturdy years at Harvard, the place she earned 2022 All-Ivy Second Staff honors. 

LAST SEASON            
In the course of the 2022-23 season, the USC girls went 11-7 in convention play and completed 21-10 total. Succeeding in arguably one of the vital aggressive conferences, the Girls of Troy had been capable of earn a bid to the NCAA Match for the primary time since 2014, when USC received the Pac-12 Match title. USC’s 2023 NCAA look marked its first at-large bid into the tourney since 2006. The Trojan protection set a program file final season in holding opponents to simply 35.4 p.c taking pictures from the ground. •

WNBA DRAFT DOUBLE                
Kadi Sissoko and Okako Adika had been picked back-to-back within the 2023 WNBA Draft Third Spherical because the twenty ninth and thirtieth total gamers chosen, respectively. A 6-2 ahead from Paris, France, Sissoko was the Trojans’ prime scorer and was chosen by the Phoenix Mercury. A full-time starter from Holster, Denmark, Adika — a 6-0 guard — was a defensive lock who got here up huge for the Trojans and was picked by the New York Liberty. It was the primary time since 2012 and simply the third time ever that USC has had two gamers chosen in a WNBA Draft. They adopted 2012 picks for Jacki Gemelos and Briana Gilbreath, and 1997 draftees Pam McGee and Tina Thompson. Adika was waived for the 2023 season, whereas Sissoko performed the complete season with the Mercury. 

Six standouts from six totally different states have signed on to hitch head coach Lindsay Gottlieb‘s Girls of Troy for 2024, together with the highest participant out of California for the second straight 12 months. Three members of USC’s incoming class — Kennedy Smith, Kayley Heckel and Avery Howell — have been named to the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Lady’s Excessive Faculty Participant of the Yr Watch Record. As of Nov. 21, ESPN ranked USC’s incoming 2024 class as No. 1 within the nation.
KENNEDY SMITH | 6-1 G | Etiwanda, Calif. (Etiwanda HS)
Gatorade California Participant of the Yr | McDonald’s All-American | Jordan Model Basic | Naismith Trophy Semifinalist | LA Instances Participant of the Yr
Kennedy Smith stands because the No. 6 recruit within the nation as she turns to a profession as a Trojan. An all-state first-teamer as a junior, Smith was additionally chosen to the 2023 Los Angeles Instances All-Star Staff and was a Nike EYBL Champion with CalSparks. She has helped Etiwanda to a 2023 Open Division State Championship and the 2022 Southern Part title and likewise was named the 2023 Press Enterprise Inland Empire Ladies Basketball Participant of the Yr.
KAYLEIGH HECKEL | 5-9 PG | Port Chester, N.Y. (Lengthy Island Lutheran HS)
McDonald’s All-American | Jordan Model Basic | Naismith Trophy Midseason Staff
Already with 2,000 factors in her prep profession, Kayleigh Heckel helped lead her highschool squad to a nationwide runner-up end in her junior season and was named the MaxPreps New York Participant of the Yr. Ranked No. 27 within the nation total, she is also a 2022 Nike TOC Champion and performs AAU ball with Exodus NYC.
RIAN FORESTIER | 5-11 G | San Antonio, Texas (Brandeis HS)
Ranked as the highest guard in Texas, Rian Forestier is a famous 3-point menace and a daily on all-state, all-region and all-district honor rolls. District MVP as a junior, she was the All-Space and All-District Newcomer of the Yr as a freshman at Brandeis Excessive in San Antonio. Additionally dedicated to neighborhood service, Forestier based a non-profit referred to as 4WARD, which donates new basketball sneakers to center college ladies within the San Antonio area. 
AVERY HOWELL | 6-0 G | Boise, Idaho (Boise HS)
Gatorade Idaho State Participant of the Yr | McDonald’s All-American | Naismith Trophy Midseason Staff
The 2023 and 2024 Gatorade Idaho Participant of the Yr, Avery Howell stands ranked No. 23 within the nation and was a participant within the Wooten High 150. Additionally an invitee to the Canadian Nationwide Staff’s coaching camp in 2023, Howell is a extremely touted guard who set single-season information in factors and rebounds in her junior season at Boise Excessive, which completed third on the 2023 state championships. She take part within the Adidas 3SSB Eurocamp and was one of many prime scorers and rebounders on the Adidas Circuit in the summertime.
LAURA WILLIAMS | 6-1 F | Fairfax, Va. (St. Paul VI Catholic HS)
The highest-ranked participant in Virginia, Laura Williams has helped St. Paul VI proceed its run of state titles. A top-100 participant in ESPN’s 2024 class, Williams averaged 11.8 factors and 5.9 rebounds per recreation with Fairfax Stars AAU on the 2023 summer time Nike EYBL circuit quickly after incomes First Staff All-State honors. 
VIVIAN IWUCHUKWU | 6-3 F | Montverde, Fla. (Montverde Academy)
Ranked because the No. 47 recruit within the nation by ESPNW, Iwuchukwu helped Montverde to a 26-1 file final season, claiming back-to-back GEICO Excessive Faculty Nationals titles in her sophomore and junior years. The sister of present USC males’s participant, Vince, she is a 2022 Adidas Circuit runner-up and was named to the 2023 Nike EYBL All-Match Staff, enjoying membership for Essence AAU. •

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