The USC women’s basketball team is going through a tough time, having lost three out of four games and falling into the middle of the pack in the Pac-12. Lindsay Gottlieb didn’t want this, but she also isn’t surprised the Pac-12 Conference is extremely tough. She knows the drill, having gone through the rigors of the league when she previously coached at Cal. Gottlieb knows she needs to give superstar player JuJu Watkins all the tools she needs to succeed. She gained a lot of new information in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Huskies.
There is a balance Gottlieb and Watkins have to arrive at for USC this season. Watkins deserves a certain amount of freedom as the team’s best and most gifted scorer, but that freedom shouldn’t exist at the expense of failing to give good shooters such as Kayla Padilla (6 of 9 on 3-pointers against Washington) more opportunities to score. Studying Washington game film might show JuJu what she needs to do better in terms of distributing the ball and creating shots for others as opposed to shooting herself. Gottlieb and Watkins have to find ways to unlock the potential of an offense which has struggled to produce efficient shooting percentages in recent weeks. If USC can fix the offensive end of the floor, the Trojans’ ceiling will rise considerably heading into March Madness.
We discussed these and other related points on our most recent Trojans Wired podcast: