USC’s JuJu Watkins Breaks NCAA Freshman Scoring Record

USC women’s basketball star JuJu Watkins has made hoops history. Watkins has officially broken the NCAA D1 women’s college basketball scoring record. The record, set by San Diego State’s Tina Hutchinson in 1984, lasted 40 years before Watkins broke it. Watkins broke the record on the big stage, as USC went up against UConn during their NCAA Elite Eight appearance this year. She hit the record-setting three-point shot in the second quarter. This was the Trojans’ first Elite Eight appearance in 30 years.

Coming into this game, Watkins was just seven points short of Hutchinson’s record with 891 points. Hutchinson recorded 898 points during her historic freshman season. After Watkins and Hutchinson, former Ohio State hooper Kelsey Mitchell had the third most points ever by a freshman with 873 in 2015. Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter recorded 816 in 2018, and Iowa star Caitlin Clark scored 799 points in 2021.

This record solidifies what has been an otherworldly freshman year for Watkins. Though expectations were high for Watkins at USC coming in as the Naismith Prep Player of the Year and the No. 1 recruit in the country, she exceeded them all in her storied freshman campaign.

Along with setting the all-time freshman scoring record, Watkins set multiple school records, despite playing for a USC program that has featured plenty of prior great players, including Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie. Watkins set the Trojans’ single-game scoring record when she scored 51 points against Stanford, one of the top competitors in college basketball. She also broke the record for most games with 30 or more points by a USC freshman, with 14 such games heading into the Elite Eight.

JuJu Watkins
PORTLAND, OREGON – APRIL 01: JuJu Watkins #12 of the USC Trojans and Paige Bueckers #5 of the Connecticut Huskies watch a shoot during the first half in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA…

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Beyond the records, Watkins dominated in her freshman campaign, game in and game out. She finished second in scoring this season, averaging 27 points per game, which was only second to Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. She won fourteen of seventeen Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards, a record. She’s a first-team All-American and the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. She’s been nominated for practically every award all season, and has been deserving of all the hype she’s received.

Her level of play has also transformed USC. With Watkins, the Trojans won their first conference championship since 2014. They’ve recorded their highest NCAA seeding and AP Top 15 ranking in years. They’ve advanced this far into the NCAA March Madness Tournament for the first time in 30 years, all with Watkins leading the way.

Now, they’re fighting to make the Final Four and go on a run to win a national championship.