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McKenzie Forbes dazzles for USC in complete performance versus Colorado

When JuJu Watkins fouled out against Colorado on January 21 in Boulder, USC had to play the final six minutes of regulation without its best player. McKenzie Forbes had to handle the ball more than she usually does in those final minutes. It was a tough adjustment for the veteran, whose turnovers helped Colorado beat the Trojans, 63-59.

We wrote about that game: 

“USC watched JuJu Watkins foul out with under six minutes left in regulation on a highly questionable foul call. Playing the final five-plus minutes without their superstar player was expectedly rough for the Trojans, but they can certainly learn from the experience. McKenzie Forbes committed multiple turnovers against Colorado’s defensive pressure with JuJu out. Those turnovers led to Colorado baskets and were important in shaping the ultimate four-point final margin for the Buffs.”

McKenzie Forbes has bounced back from that game. She has learned from that game. Given a chance to face Colorado a second time, Forbes played miles better versus the Buffaloes on Friday night. She was instrumental in leading USC to an 87-81 win which has the Trojans in position to contend for the Pac-12 title and a top seed at the 2024 Women’s NCAA Tournament. Let’s say a little more about Forbes’ performance below:

EFFICIENT SHOOTING

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Forbes really couldn’t have hoped for a better shooting performance. She was 7 of 13 from the field, 5 of 6 on 3-pointers, and 5 of 5 from the foul line. Those are all big-time numbers in a big game.

ASSISTS-TURNOVERS

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t just focus on the shooting numbers, as great as they were. Forbes also handed out seven assists and didn’t commit a turnover. She helped the USC offense in so many ways.

BOUNCE-BACK IDENTITY

 Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Forbes bounced back from her rough Colorado game. Keep in mind that Forbes played a brilliant game right after that first Colorado game in late January:

Friday night in Los Angeles, Forbes bounced back from her rough outing in Boulder. She gave JuJu Watkins more than enough help and reminded everyone how central she is to the success of the USC women’s basketball team.

Watkins did her usual thing and scored 29 points to lead all scorers, but it was Forbes’ 22 points in a supporting role which made the difference, carrying USC to a 70-62 win over a good Washington State team in the Galen Center.

FORBES AND JUJU

 Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

McKenzie Forbes and JuJu Watkins have both demonstrated a consistent ability to respond to one difficult game with a strong effort in the next game on their schedule. Also, when one opponent outfoxes them, they make adjustments in the rematch. USC has avenged two of its four losses this season, beating UCLA in a rematch and then doing the same against Colorado. USC and Forbes now have a chance to avenge their loss to Utah on Sunday in the Galen Center.

TRIPLE THREAT

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Forbes teamed with Watkins and Kayla Padilla to light up the scoreboard for USC. All three players made at least four 3-pointers against Colorado. At one point, the three players were a combined 12 of 14 from 3-point range. They finished 13 of 19 as a trio. USC is not going to lose with those kinds of numbers from McKenzie Forbes and her teammates.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire