The USC Lady Trojans have one of the best true freshman basketball stars in the nation. JuJu Watkins is on pace to surpass Caitlin Clark’s scoring record. Currently, as a freshman, JuJu is averaging more points a game than Caitlin Clark averaged by the end of her freshman season in 2020-2021. The Lady Trojans have a guaranteed four games remaining on the schedule including their next conference foe in Cal University. Watkins last performance tallied 51 points to help upset then ranked four in the country Stanford while amassing the Lady Trojan individual all time single game scoring record.
All-American as a Freshman
Typically at the end of a competitive collegiate sport season, individual awards are handed out. Among these awards are a comprised list of outstanding players across the nation that have outdone themselves amongst the ranks of the rest. This list is referred to as “All-Americans.” Watkins had made quite a name for herself as a young Sierra Canyon Trailblazer, making many pre season prediction lists already as a incoming recruit. Now 20 games into her collegiate basketball career, she is already making national headlines and has built a strong resume for All-Freshman if not All-American first team. Caitlin Clark has set the new standard in the current college woman’s basketball world. The accolades on and off the court have earned Caitlin the spotlight. To be a freshman in any capacity in comparison to your upper classman leaders is very respectable. Watkins, given she remains healthy, will certainly have a collegiate career to be remembered.
Freshman by tenure, Veteran by stats
Who better than current Iowa Hawkeyes star, Caitlin Clark to draw for statistical comparison? Caitlin’s current average stat line for this season looks as follows; 23 games, 33.7 minutes, 32.4 points, 10.7-22.3 FG, 48.2 FG%, 5.3-13.2 3pt, 40.1 3pt%, 5.6-6.6 FT, 85.4 FT%. Her current point total for this season is 745. The freshman current average stat line for this season looks as follows; 18 games, 33 minutes, 27.2 points, 9.4-21.8 FG, 43.0 FG%, 2.2-6.0 3pt, 36.1 3pt%, 6.3-7.5 FT, 83.7 FT%. Watkins’ current point total is 490. Watkins currently trails Clark by 255 points for season totals. Considering Juju has played 5 less games to date than Clark, it is safe to assume the gap between the two will be significantly closer at the end of the season. Consider this; Watkins is scoring 27.2 points on average, 5 games at just her average would put her current total to 626 points. Watkins’ season low is 17 when the Lady Oregon Ducks came to Los Angeles resulting in a winless bus ride back to Eugene. Alternatively, her highest featured thus far mentioned above was the 51 points scored against Stanford. Most recently in their win against Cal University, Watkins amassed 29 points shooting 12-27 FG, 2-8 3PT, 3-3 FT while playing all 40 minutes.
A Freshman season to remember
With four games left on the regular season, Watkins has some time to solidify an already great freshman year. It is safe to assume Southern California and the Lady Trojans will get to see at the least 1 extra game this season when March comes around. Nothing is guaranteed after the ticket to march is punched. Thus giving Watkins more opportunity to heighten her young collegiate career. Further more with the conference realignments coming in the very near future which we see USC move to the B1G. Interestingly enough, the new competition could bring this young star’s capabilities to new heights. Alternatively, we won’t get to see yearly matchups between Clark and Watkins however, B1G accomplishments could be shattered with these four extended invites to the schools out west. Will Juju Watkins and the Lady Trojans withstand the pressures to remain afloat as the 2023-2024 season comes to a close? Will the USC Lady trojans find themselves in the final four? Surely if either of these questions become answered with yes, Juju Watkins will have had a key role in this accomplishment.
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