No. 1 USC KOs Kansas, ends Sweet 16 drought

Mar 25, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans guard JuJu Watkins (12) drives to the basket as Kansas Jayhawks guard Wyvette Mayberry (0) defends during an NCAA Women’s Tournament 2nd round game at Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Top-seeded Southern California rode a key run into the fourth quarter and pushed past eighth-seeded Kansas 73-55 in the second round of the Women’s NCAA Tournament Portland 3 Region on Monday in Los Angeles.

USC’s JuJu Watkins, who scored a game-high 28 points, put up five straight points late in the third quarter after Kansas pulled to within one point. The burst ignited a 16-3 run that extended deep into the fourth period for the Trojans (28-5).

USC outscored Kansas in the final quarter 20-9 overall to seal a spot in the Sweet 16, the program’s first since 1994. The Trojans meet will fifth-seeded Baylor in the Sweet 16 on Saturday in Portland, Ore.

McKenzie Forbes scored the first 18 of her 20 points from 3-point range, sinking 6 of 13 for the night to pace USC to a 13-of-29 team performance from beyond the arc.

Kansas (20-13) shot just 3 of 10 from long distance and 20 of 56 (35.7 percent) from the floor in total. The Trojans made 25 of their 66 field-goal attempts (37.9 percent).

S’Mya Nichols led Kansas with 22 points. Taiyanna Jackson grabbed 18 rebounds to go with 10 points, three steals and two blocked shots.

Watkins led USC with 11 rebounds and five assists, but she committed six turnovers. Rayah Marshall scored nine points and made a game-high four steals. Kayla Padilla scored all nine of her points on 3-of-6 3-point shooting.

–Field Level Media

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