Freshman Watkins scores 29, rallies No. 15 USC women past Cal 79-69

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Freshman JuJu Watkins scored 29 points to lead No. 15 Southern California to a 79-69 victory over California on Sunday.

Watkins made 12 of 27 shots from the floor with two 3-pointers for the Trojans (16-4, 6-4 Pac-12 Conference). She added five assists, four rebounds, four steals and blocked two shots.

Watkins came in averaging 27.2 points per game, second in the nation only to the 32.4 average of Iowa's Caitlin Clark. Watkins was coming off a season-best 51-point performance, scoring all but 16 points in the Trojans' 67-58 victory over No. 4 Stanford.

McKenzie Forbes totaled 12 points, five rebounds and five assists for USC. Kaitlyn Davis pitched in with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Joanna Krimili hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 to lead the Golden Bears (13-10, 3-8). Marta Suarez contributed 18 points and nine rebounds.

Krimili hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 to help California jump out to a 26-15 lead after one quarter.

Watkins sank 5 of 9 shots with two 3-pointers, scoring 14 points in the second quarter to get USC within 39-37 at halftime.

Krimili opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Suarez followed with a layup to push the Cal lead to seven. Kayla Padilla, who scored nine, answered with a 3-pointer and capped a 10-2 run with another one as USC moved in front 47-46 with six minutes left. Krimili and Suarez combined to score 17 by quarter's end and the Golden Bears took a 61-58 lead into the final period.

Davis made a layup and two free throws and Rayah Marshall and Watkins had layups in an 8-0 run to begin the fourth quarter and the Trojans never trailed again.

USC returns home to play Arizona State on Friday. California will take a four-game losing streak to Washington State for a Friday matchup.

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