LOS ANGELES -- — JuJu Watkins hasn't made many mistakes in the first three games of her college career.
Knowing where to wait on the court after being the first player introduced was one of them. Watkins headed to the sideline after her name was called Monday night before being urged to go stand near the top of the key to greet her fellow Southern California starters.
“There’s not really any big flaws in her game,” USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb said before joking, "A freshman that doesn't know where to go after her name is announced.”
Watkins scored 35 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and the No. 10 Trojans (3-0) routed Le Moyne 93-42.
“It was a zone pretty much the whole game so it was easy to get off threes,” said Watkins, who had nine rebounds and six steals.
Watkins has totaled 83 points in her first three college games, including 32 in the Trojans’ season-opening victory over then-No. 7 Ohio State last week. She was named Pac-12 freshman of the week for her performances.
“I didn't really have that many expectations for myself, just to come in and contribute as much as I can to the team,” Watkins said. “But it's been a great week.”
Watkins scored 13 of the Trojans' first 15 points in the fourth and then sat down for good. They led 91-32, allowing Gottlieb to go to her bench. Aaliyah Gayles didn't score in her second straight game, her first collegiate action since recovering after being shot 18 times at a house party in Las Vegas in 2022.
Lytoya Baker scored 14 points to lead the Dolphins (0-4). They committed 22 turnovers, got outrebounded 41-27 and had just seven assists to 24 for USC.
“We appreciate Le Moyne coming out here. They’re transitioning to D-I this year,” Gottlieb said. “We knew we probably had more talent and more size so I wanted to really see how we came out in terms of valuing possessions, valuing our discipline and things we’re working on. That’s what I was looking for more than anything on the box score.”
Le Moyne: The Dolphins are playing 11 of their first 12 games on the road with some tough travel and multiple time zone changes. They were in Colorado for their first two games, went home to New York and then flew to California, all in the span of eight days. But after leaving Los Angeles, they'll play the rest of the season in the East.
USC: Thanks to a season-opening upset of then-No. 7 Ohio State, the Trojans jumped 11 spots to No. 10 in Monday's AP Top 25 poll, their highest ranking since finishing the season seventh in 1993-94. “Polls at this time of year are representative of a small snapshot,” Gottlieb said. “We did our job the first week. We’re trying to be higher than that at the end of the season.”
Le Moyne: Visits Massachusetts on Saturday.
USC: Plays Seton Hall on Nov. 20 in the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship in the Bahamas.
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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball
- Karen Lasuik
- Tiffany Bird
- Sydney Mott