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Cal Women's Basketball

Bears Fall Short To No. 15 USC

February 4, 2024
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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Freshman JuJu Watkins scored 29 points to lead No. 15 Southern California to a 79-69 victory over California on Sunday. The Golden Bears got up by as many as 13 points in the second quarter and took a three-point lead into the fourth, but were unable to hold on for the win.

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.

Ioanna Krimili hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 to lead the Golden Bears (13-10, 3-8). Krimili’s third 3-pointer in the first quarter gave her 2,002 career points, joining 16 other active players in the country to have reached the 2,000-point milestone. The game also marked her 24th career game with at least five made threes – good for second in the country behind Caitlyn Clark. Marta Suárez 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. Cal was able to get as close as five points with 2:25 remaining in the game but just fell short.

USC returns home to play Arizona State on Friday. California heads to Washington State for a Friday matchup.

Related:

Bears Fall to #7 UCLA

Bears Pull Away Late for a 66-57 Win Over Oregon

Bears Fall Short To No. 15 USC

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