Just six games into her collegiate career, JuJu Watkins might have already overtaken college basketball's current crop of stars as the country's best female player.
After Watkins' undefeated, sixth-ranked USC squad dominated Cal Poly by a score of 85-44 on Tuesday, the record-breaking freshman saw her sat sheet show another 30 point performance — besting Lisa Leslie's record for the most 30 point games as a freshman in USC women's basketball history, with four.
? and she did it in six games ????? pic.twitter.com/Kmz01wASYe
— USC Women's Basketball (@USCWBB) November 30, 2023
What's more, Watkins' current average of 26.8 points per game ranks second in NCAA Division 1 women's basketball, only behind Caitlin Clark's 29.6 points per game average.
So while Watkins hasn't supplanted Caitlin Clark as the reigning queen of college basketball quite yet, it only seems a matter of time before she does — if only because this is most likely Clark's final collegiate season, before becoming the first overall pick of the 2024 WNBA Draft. When that happens, college basketball will become Watkins' to rule.
Yet, Watkins is surely more concerned with her team's accomplishments than her own personal accolades — and her USC squad is booming right now. The Trojans' current No. 6 ranking in the AP poll is USC's highest national ranking since holding a #4 spot way back in 1994. Although upsets from top-ranked teams have been abundant in women's college basketball this season so far, the fact that USC doesn't face a ranked opponent until facing #2 ranked UCLA on December 30th bodes well for their undefeated record.
However, tough sledding is still ahead for Watkins and her USC teammates. Not only do they face an arch-rival and fellow undefeated team in UCLA at the end of December, they also have a one week, three-game stretch in January where they face No. 2 ranked UCLA again (on January 14th), #23 ranked Utah (on January 19th) in Utah, and then match up against No. 7 ranked Colorado (on January 21st) in Colorado.
In fact, the Pac-12 conference might be the best it has ever been — at least, when it comes to women's basketball (certainly not by any other metric) — considering that it has four teams currently ranked in the AP top 10 (three of which are undefeated), and five teams in the top 25.
With that in mind, we might need to wait and see whether JuJu Watkins can replicate her early-season success against top-tier conference foes before we crown her as the new queen of college basketball.
Still, it only seems like a matter of time before we're living in Watkins' world.
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