USC’s JuJu Watkins: After Heartbreak Against UConn in 2024, Her Next Target is National Championship

JuJu Watkins, a standout player for the USC Trojans, is on a mission. Following a heartbreaking loss against UConn in 2024, Watkins is more determined than ever to lead her team to a national championship victory

In 2024, USC faced off against UConn in a highly anticipated match. Despite putting up a valiant effort, the Trojans fell short, losing to the Huskies.

For Watkins, this defeat was particularly hard to swallow. As a key player on the team, she felt the weight of the loss deeply.

Rather than allowing the loss to deter her, Watkins has used it as fuel for her fire. Determined to redeem herself and her team, she has been training tirelessly in the off-season. Her dedication and commitment have not gone unnoticed, inspiring her teammates to push themselves to new heights.

Watkins’ leadership qualities have shone through in the aftermath of the defeat. She has taken on a mentorship role, guiding younger players and instilling in them the same drive and determination that fuels her own ambitions.

Her positive attitude and unwavering belief in her team’s ability to succeed have been instrumental in keeping morale high.

JuJu Watkins
JuJu Watkins (Image: Source)

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JuJu Watkins and USC Trojans: A Season of Triumph and Future Ambitions

In the 2023-24 season, JuJu Watkins and the USC Trojans delivered an exceptional performance, culminating in a remarkable journey to the Elite Eight round of March Madness.1

This achievement marked a significant milestone, as it was the Trojans’ first appearance in the Elite Eight since 1994. The team concluded the season with an impressive 29-6 overall record and secured the coveted No. 2 spot in the Pac-12 standings.

Reflecting on the Journey

Despite the NCAA tournament ending with a loss to the UConn Huskies, Watkins expressed unwavering determination and motivation. During an appearance on “NBA Unplugged” alongside Kevin Hart, she shared her perspective on the defeat:

“I’m incredibly motivated by the loss. It was a moment for me to reflect, for the team to reflect. We had a phenomenal year, a remarkable run, but ultimately, it’s about what lies ahead.

This loss only adds fuel to our desire to secure a national championship because that has always been our ultimate goal.”

In a post-game press conference following the loss in April, Watkins reiterated her determination for the upcoming season:

“Coming up short has fueled a fire within us for the next few years,” she stated. “I’m eager to return home and hit the gym. I’m focused on learning from this season, particularly on areas where I can improve, such as my efficiency. I’m grateful for the lessons this year has brought.”

A Promising Off-Season

In addition to Watkins’ commitment and preparation, USC has significantly bolstered its roster during the off-season. The team made notable acquisitions from the transfer portal, including Kiki Iriafen and Talia von Oelhoffen.

Furthermore, USC has secured the No. 1 ranking in the 2024 recruit class, signaling its intent to welcome Kennedy Smith and other highly touted incoming freshmen for the upcoming season.

The Trojans’ off-season moves indicate a strong commitment to building upon the successes of the previous season.

With a blend of experienced players and promising newcomers, USC appears poised for another compelling season, fueled by the desire to achieve greater heights and ultimately claim the coveted national championship.

JuJu Watkins
JuJu Watkins (Image: Source)

The Impact of JuJu Watkins and the Rise of Women’s College Basketball

  • In a recent conversation with Kevin Hart, JuJu Watkins, a rising star in women’s college basketball, shared her thoughts on the surge of interest in the sport.
  • This season, women’s college basketball has experienced a significant increase in attention, with arenas selling out and viewership numbers reaching record highs.
  • “It’s definitely so exciting,” Watkins expressed. “I mean, just to see the crowds. We’re getting the support, the media attention, it just inspires me to keep working harder, and the attention is very well deserved.”

  • Watkins highlighted the talent pool in both the WNBA and college basketball, emphasizing the exceptional performances by female athletes.
  • “So many great players in the WNBA and in college right now on the women’s side, and we’re all just killing it honestly, so I’m excited to see how well my peers and I do.”
  • JuJu Watkins, along with players like Notre Dame’s Hannah Hidalgo, is poised to become one of the new faces of women’s college basketball, following in the footsteps of players like Caitlin Clark.
  • Watkins’ impact, often referred to as the “JuJu Effect,” was evident from her first season, and it is expected to grow as she continues to excel in her college career.
JuJu Watkins
JuJu Watkins (Image: Source)

Also Read: Breanna Stewart: From UConn Phenom to WNBA Legend, Mother’s Day Special and More

Judea Skies “JuJu” Watkins: Bio

Rising Star of American College Basketball

Judea Skies “JuJu” Watkins, born on July 15, 2005, has quickly emerged as a prominent figure in American college basketball.2

Currently playing for the USC Trojans, she is set to make a significant move from the Pac-12 Conference to the Big Ten Conference for the 2024–25 season.

Hailing from Los Angeles, she completed her education at Sierra Canyon School, where her basketball prowess was evident, earning her the title of the number one recruit in her class by ESPN and national high school player of the year honors.

Early Life and Education

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Judea Skies Watkins, affectionately known as “JuJu,” displayed exceptional talent and passion for basketball from a young age.

She honed her skills at Sierra Canyon School, where she not only excelled academically but also made a name for herself on the basketball court.

JuJu Watkins
JuJu Watkins

JuJu Watkins: Career

Dominique Watkins: A Rising Star in College Basketball

  • Dominique Watkins made an unforgettable college debut on November 6, 2023, scoring an impressive 32 points in an 83–74 upset win over AP No. 7 Ohio State.
  • This remarkable performance set the USC record for points in a freshman debut, surpassing Lisa Leslie’s record from 1990. Just over two weeks later, on November 22, Watkins achieved her first double-double with 31 points and 12 rebounds in a thrilling 71–70 victory over Penn State.
  • This game marked the beginning of a stunning streak for Watkins, as she went on to score 30 or more points in three consecutive games, tying Cheryl Miller’s record for the longest such streak in USC program history.
  • Watkins continued to impress throughout the season. On January 14, 2024, she recorded 32 points and 10 rebounds in a 73–65 win over AP No. 2 UCLA, showcasing her versatility and skill on the court.
  • Her standout performance came on February 2, when she scored a career-high 51 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 67–58 victory over AP No. 4 Stanford. This incredible feat not only secured a crucial win for USC but also broke the USC single-game scoring record previously held by Cherie Nelson since 1989.
  • Watkins’ performance was historic, marking the first 50-point game by an NCAA Division I freshman since Elena Delle Donne achieved the feat for Delaware in 2010.
  • On February 23, Watkins continued to make history, scoring 42 points in an 87–81 win over AP No. 11 Colorado. This game not only set the single-game scoring record for the Galen Center, USC’s home arena, but also marked her 11th 30-point game of the season, surpassing Cheryl Miller for the most in a season by a USC player.


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  • In the following game, Watkins posted 30 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in a close 74–68 loss to AP No. 18 Utah. This performance saw her pass Paula McGee for the program freshman single-season scoring record.
  • Watkins’ exceptional skills and leadership did not go unnoticed. At the end of the regular season, she was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and earned All-Pac-12 honors, solidifying her place as one of the most promising players in college basketball.
  • Additionally, Watkins was recognized for her defensive prowess, receiving All-Defensive Team honors from the Pac-12 media.
  • Watkins’ impact extended beyond individual accolades. She led USC to a Pac-12 Tournament title, defeating then #2 Stanford. Watkins’ performance throughout the season was nothing short of remarkable, breaking the NCAA Division I freshman scoring record with 920 points.
  • This achievement surpassed the mark of 898 set by Tina Hutchinson four decades earlier in 1983–84, highlighting Watkins’ exceptional talent and dedication to the sport.

National Team Success

Watkins’ success is not limited to the college level. She has also excelled on the international stage, representing the United States with distinction. Watkins won a gold medal with the United States at the 2021 FIBA Under-16 Americas Championship in Mexico.

Her performance was outstanding, averaging 20 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.2 steals, and 3.7 assists per game. Watkins’ stellar play earned her the tournament MVP honors, further cementing her reputation as a rising star in basketball.

At the 2022 FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Hungary, Watkins once again showcased her talent and leadership, leading her team to the gold medal.

She was named MVP of the tournament after averaging 13.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. Watkins’ success on the international stage is a testament to her skill, hard work, and dedication to the game.

Dominique Watkins is a remarkable talent who has already achieved incredible success in her young career. Her performances at both the college and international levels have been nothing short of exceptional, and she is undoubtedly a player to watch in the world of basketball.

JuJu Watkins
JuJu Watkins

Juju Watkins: Boyfriend

Exploring Her Rumored Relationship with DJ Wagner

Juju Watkins, a rising star in the basketball world, has been making waves both on and off the court.3

With her exceptional skills and charismatic personality, she has captured the attention of fans and media alike.

Among the various aspects of her life that fans are curious about is her romantic life, particularly her relationship status. Rumors have been swirling about her dating life, with many speculating that she is in a relationship with fellow basketball player DJ Wagner.

Let’s take a closer look at this rumored relationship and explore the details surrounding Juju Watkins’ boyfriend.

DJ Wagner: A Rising Basketball Star

DJ Wagner is another name that has been making waves in the basketball scene. Born on July 3, 2004, Wagner is a highly skilled player known for his versatility and basketball IQ.

Hailing from Camden, New Jersey, he has garnered attention for his impressive performances on the court, drawing comparisons to some of the game’s greatest players.

Rumors of a Relationship

The rumors surrounding Juju Watkins and DJ Wagner’s relationship began circulating after the two were spotted together at various events and games.

While neither has confirmed the relationship publicly, their frequent appearances together have fueled speculation among fans and media outlets.

Exploring the Rumored Relationship

While details about Juju Watkins’ relationship with DJ Wagner remain scarce, their rumored romance has sparked interest among fans eager to learn more about their personal lives.

Both Juju and DJ have remained tight-lipped about their relationship, choosing to keep their personal lives private.

Also Read: Alex Sarr’s Path to the NBA: Family, Siblings, Achievements, Net Worth 2024 and Aspirations

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Kankana Biswas
Kankana Biswas

I'm a strategic journalism graduate with expertise on socio-political issues, business, and finance. I'm a self-made entrepreneur, and have contributed to various news/media outlets since 2015. I also received degree of journalism from the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce.

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