“I’m so motivated by the loss”: USC’s JuJu Watkins determined to win a national championship after losing against UConn in 2024 

USC’s JuJu Watkins determined to win a national championship after losing against UConn in 2024
USC’s JuJu Watkins determined to win a national championship after losing against UConn in 2024

JuJu Watkins and the USC Trojans had a great run in the 2023-24 season as the team reached the Elite Eight round in March Madness, a first since 1994. They wrapped with a 29-6 overall record and clinched the No. 2 spot in Pac-12.

Although the NCAA tournament campaign ended with a loss to the UConn Huskies, Watkins explained that she was not deterred by it. She made an appearance on "NBA Unplugged" with Kevin Hart during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics, and spoke about it:

"I mean, I'm so motivated by the loss. It was definitely something for me to reflect on, for the team to reflect on. We had a great year, we had a run, but at the end of the day, it's about what's next and it's just fuel to the fire for us to want to get a national championship because that's always the goal."

In the post-game presser after the loss in April, Watkins shared similar thoughts for the next season:

"I think just coming up short that adds a lot of fuel to the fire for the next couple years," she said. "I'm just excited to go back home and get in the gym now. I'm really focused on learning from this season as a whole and things I can improve on, definitely my efficiency and stuff like that. But I'm just grateful for this year because I've learned a lot."

Beside the star guard's preparation, the Trojans have amped up their roster during the off-season, as they added Kiki Iriafen and Talia von Oelhoffen from the transfer portal. USC is also ranked No. 1 in the 2024 recruit class as it is set to welcome Kennedy Smith and other top-ranked incoming freshman for the upcoming season.

JuJu Watkins comments on heightened attention on women's sports

During the chat with Kevin Hart, she was also asked about the interest that women's college basketball has received this season with arenas sold out and record-setting viewership numbers:

(from 1:30)

"It's definitely so exciting," Watkins said. "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.
"So many great players um in the W 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 Notre Dame's Hannah Hidalgo, are set to be the new faces of the league after Caitlin Clark. The "JuJu Effect" was already evident in her first season and it is only set to increase with her remaining college years.

What do you think of JuJu Watkins' performances with the USC Trojans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also Read: Top 3 reasons why JuJu Watkins' USC could win 2025 NCAA Championship

What could Alabama basketball's 2024-25 starting lineup look like? Find out here

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