Advertisement

USC delivers best offensive game of the season in huge win over Colorado

The USC Trojans picked a mighty good time to have their best offensive game of the 2023-2024 women’s college basketball season. USC became a team of flamethrowers in an 87-81 win over Colorado in a game which became a surprising shootout. For the sake of comparison, the first game between these two teams in Boulder one month ago (January 21) was a 63-59 slugfest. This rematch was anything but. It was a hot-shooting, free-flowing display of offense — maybe not an NBA All-Star Game, but certainly a lot more wide open than anyone was ready to anticipate.

How great an offensive performance was this for USC? Several details immediately jump off the page, and they all flowed through USC’s three best offensive players:

JUJU WITH 42

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

When JuJu Watkins has a bad game, watch out in the next game. She fixes problems immediately.

Remember when JuJu was 8 of 27 in the loss to Washington? She torched Stanford for 51 in the next game.

This past Sunday, JuJu was 6 of 32 against Oregon State. She responded with 42 points versus Colorado. She went 18 of 18 from the free throw line. She hit 4 of 7 3-pointers and 10 of 19 field goals. Her ability to respond to bad games with elite performances is a perfect embodiment of her winning DNA.

MCKENZIE FORBES STEPS UP

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

McKenzie Forbes was sensational. She, too, bounced back in this game. She had a rough go of it the last time USC played Colorado, committing key turnovers late in the four-point loss to the Buffaloes. She was ready for the rematch, scoring 24 points thanks to 5-of-6 3-point shooting and 5-of-5 shooting at the foul line. She also handed out seven assists with zero turnovers. What a magnificent game for a clutch player.

KAYLA PADILLA

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

When Kayla Padilla shoots 3-pointers, good things happen. She nailed 4 of 5 triples for 12 big points in a game USC won by six. What a glue gal for USC.

TEAM SHOOTING NUMBERS

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

USC’s shooting splits were dazzling against Colorado: 57 percent from the field, 68 percent from 3-point range, 96 percent (24 of 25) from the foul line. You can’t play offense much better than that. There was only one real flaw: 9 JuJu Watkins turnovers. Other than that, USC hit its marks on offense. USC was 12 of 14 from 3-point range at one point before finally cooling off late in the game with a large lead.

FREE THROWS MATTERED AGAIN

 (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

When JuJu Watkins takes at least 15 free throws, USC wins. USC hasn’t lost a game when JuJu gets to 15 free throw attempts. JuJu took 18 against Colorado and made them all. It’s the second time this season she made at least 16 free throws. She went 16 of 16 on January 14 versus UCLA.

USC missed just one foul shot in 25 attempts. Colorado, on the other hand, missed 10 free throws in a game it lost by six. This was a key difference on Friday night.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire