With recent transfers Talia von Oelhoffen and Kiki Iriafen joining first-team All-American JuJu Watkins and the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class at USC next season, the Trojans look to transition from an up-and-coming squad to a legitimate title contender. 

Former Oregon State graduate student von Oelhoffen is the latest collegiate talent to commit to the program, announcing her transfer Monday via ESPN. She follows ex-Stanford leading-scorer Iriafen in the jump to the pair’s one-time Pac-12 rival.

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The 5-foot-11 Washington native was a two-time All-Pac-12 guard during her time at Oregon State. But after the recent dissolution of the Pac-12, the Corvallis side found themselves without a permanent home conference going forward. Many big name players opted to take their skill elsewhere as a result, with von Oelhoffen’s fellow ex-Beaver Raegan Beers announcing her own departure to Oklahoma on Monday.

According to DraftKings, USC is now tied with UConn for the second-best betting odds to win the 2025 NCAA women’s tournament. Dawn Staley’s tested South Carolina side, poised for a repeat performance, holds down the number one spot.

Last year, LSU loaded up in the transfer portal after beating Iowa to win the 2023 national championship. The Tigers were clear favorites coming into the 2023-24 season, but were bounced in the Elite Eight by Caitlin Clark’s Hawkeyes. Shortly thereafter, star transfer Hailey Van Lith opted to transfer a second time, this time signing with TCU. 

Yet while history proves that an excess of star power doesn’t always translate to on-court chemistry, on paper, USC sure looks ready to hold their own — in 2025 and beyond.

Former Stanford leading-scorer Kiki Iriafen is set to join star rising sophomore JuJu Watkins at USC next year, reported ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday. 

The 6-foot-3 forward is coming off a breakout season with the Cardinal, where the then-junior led Stanford to the Sweet 16 with an average of 19.4 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Walking away with the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player award and a spot on the All-Pac-12 team, Iriafen entered the portal at the close of last season and was subsequently ranked second on ESPN’s 2024-2025 transfer ranking list.

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At USC, Iriafen will play out her senior year alongside the Women's Basketball Coaches Association’s 2024 National Freshman of the Year JuJu Watkins, forming what could be an explosive partnership for the Trojans as they look to build momentum going into next season. The Southern California side advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1994 this year, ultimately falling to UConn in a heated 80-73 battle.

Iriafen wasn’t the only one making choices this past week. LSU guard Hailey Van Lith officially announced her own transfer to TCU on Friday, while Princeton standout Kaitlyn Chen committed to UConn for her final year of college eligibility. Other big names still weighing their options are Oregon State's Talia Von Oelhoffen and Raegan Beers, as well as UNC's Deja Kelly.

With conference realignment on the horizon and team fit a contending factor, the NCAA women's basketball transfer portal has been busier than ever. And while transfers can bolster many types of college programs, this particular offseason has seen talent-rich programs growing even richer.

As the new year approaches, the college basketball season is heating up, and so is the player of the year race.

The Naismith Player of the Year award recognizes the best players in NCAA men’s and women’s basketball. Several players on the 50-player watchlist have lived up to their billing. One in particular has done even more.

Here are Just Women’s Sports’ contenders in the player of the year race heading into 2024, in no particular order.

Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Not much more needs to be said here. Last year’s Naismith Award winner is putting on an even better show this season. At the time of publication, Clark averages a league-leading 30.5 points per game and is seventh in NCAA Division I in assists (7.4 per game). At her current pace, Clark could overtake Kelsey Plum’s college scoring record by February. And while she’s a high scorer, she also spreads the wealth around to her team.

In what could be her final year in the NCAA, Clark has also stepped up her defensive play. She’s gathered 91 defensive rebounds through 13 games played, and her turnover rate is at a career low.

For the second year in a row, Clark may well be the best all-around choice for player of the year.

(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Alissa Pili, Utah

Few players on this list have taken their team on their backs the way Pili has. When she shoots, she rarely misses. When she defends, she gives her all.

Pili averages just under 25 points per game, good for fourth in D-I. She also has a 69.7 shooting percentage, the fifth-highest in the NCAA. And she is making 56.5% of her 3-pointers, which ranks first in the NCAA.

Pili’s WNBA potential has been debated. But after the show she’s been putting on this season, there’s no question that she could thrive in the pros. Her size, scoring ability and athleticism make her an ideal draft candidate in 2024 — and perhaps a player of the year candidate as well.

(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

JuJu Watkins, USC

The freshman guard is already making a huge impact for the Trojans. In the seven-week old college basketball season, Watkins has taken home six Pac-12 freshman of the week honors. And for good reason.

Watkins is averaging a staggering 26.8 points per game, placing her at second in D-I as a first-year player. She shoots over 46% from behind the arc, and she’s snagged 62 rebounds in her nine games played.

Before finishing her first semester of college, Watkins has cemented herself as a regular in USC’s starting lineup and as a favorite for national freshman of the year honors. And if she keeps it up, she could set her sights even higher.

(M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Paige Bueckers, UConn

Bueckers started the 2023-24 season with something to prove. The redshirt junior guard had less than 50 college games under her belt due to injuries — a good amount lower than many other players in her year. But she hit the court without missing a beat.

The 21-year-old averages almost 19 points per game, shoots 48% from the three-point line and leads her team in points this season. Bueckers also averages more than three assists per game, and she’s snagged 23 steals in 12 games. She is stepping up her defensive game as well. So far, she’s batted a team-leading 16 blocks as a guard and she’s collected 50 defensive rebounds.

If she continues to heat up despite the pressure of leading a depleted UConn squad, she could play her way into the national award conversation.

(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Aneesah Morrow, LSU

Morrow is another player whose all-around skillset is serving her well early in the 2023-24 slate. Her versatility is allowing her to shine at LSU after her transfer from DePaul in the offseason.

The 20-year-old forward makes her presence known on the scoresheet, averaging 18.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. But her excellence continues on the other side of the ball. Morrow leads the Tigers with 34 steals and 17 blocks in 13 games played.

Through many challenges LSU has faced this season, including a prolonged absence for star Angel Reese and the removal of former starter Kateri Poole from the team, Morrow has taken everything in stride and remained a consistent and reliable player for the Tigers.

Honorable mentions:

  • Cameron Brink, Stanford
  • Aaliyah Edwards, UConn
  • Deja Kelly, UNC
  • Ta’Niya Latson, Florida State
  • Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State

The NCAA basketball season has started off with a bang, with a number of freshmen already making names for themselves.

MiLaysia Fulwiley caught the attention of NBA great Magic Johnson in her very first game for South Carolina. And if Fulwiley and her fellows continue on their trajectories, then freshman of the year could be this season’s most competitive award — and a few freshmen could even play their way into the national player of the year conversation.

Just Women’s Sports takes a look at four freshman phenoms who have starred for their teams in the first month of the season.

JuJu Watkins, USC

Watkins has been vocal about having both freshman of the year and national player of the year aspirations – and so far, she’s off to a great start. On Monday, she snagged her third-straight Pac-12 Freshman of the Week selection, and she has helped No. 6 USC to its best AP poll ranking in 29 years.

Her first collegiate game set the tone. Her 32 points stands as the most ever by a USC freshman in their debut, beating out Lisa Leslie’s 30 points. And those 32 points came against a ranked opponent in Notre Dame. Just five games later, she broke Leslie’s record for the most 30-point games scored by a USC freshman. And what’s more? Her 26.8 points per game rank second in Division I behind only Iowa senior Caitlin Clark.

When USC trailed by six points to Penn State on Nov. 22, Watkins scored seven in a row to lead the still-undefeated Trojans to victory.

“JuJu is so phenomenal, to see her adapt to the college game and adapt as quickly is so impressive,” USC head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said of Watkins. And after her debut, Gottlieb said: “She’s ridiculous. Get used to it.”

(Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports)

MiLaysia Fulwiley, South Carolina

Fulwiley turned heads with her season-opening performance against Notre Dame in Paris. And since then, she’s been a walking highlight reel for South Carolina, helping the team reach the No. 1 spot in the rankings.

The freshman guard is averaging the second-most points (15.0) for the Gamecocks behind only senior center Kamilla Cardoso (16.8). She’s also averaging 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game. The Gamecocks (5-0) had a lot of question marks after the departure of big names such as Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke, but in Fulwiley, they’ve found an answer.

And what is perhaps scariest for South Carolina’s opponents is that Fulwiley still has a lot to learn when it comes to choosing her spots for her dazzling plays.

“She’s looking for a really great moment for her, a crowd-pleasing play. She has an appetite for it, that she loses sight of the in-between the great plays. And that’s where the game is being played,” head coach Dawn Staley said. “We gotta continue to give her more experiences in game-like situations. … But she’s learning.

“Not taking anything away from her. I want her to be great, I want her to be generational, I want her to be able to play a lot of different ways.”

(Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports)

Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame

A three-time ACC Rookie of the Week, Hidalgo is off to a hot start for the Irish, averaging 25.0 points (good for third in Division I), 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and a 56.6% shooting through her first six games. She leads the ACC in both points and steals (6.3) per game.

Hidalgo set a Notre Dame record with 31 points in her first game. And earlier this month, she was named ACC Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week – just the second Notre Dame player to ever sweep such awards.

On top of that, she has 38 steals through six games. Her season high sits at 12 – which tied the Notre Dame record for a single game. She had 18 steals in a two-game span, which is the second-most by an ACC player in the last 25 seasons. She leads all Division I players in steals per game.

She also hasn’t posted below 20 points yet this season, and her six straight games with at least 20 points matches Beth Morgan and Arike Ogunbowale as the only players in Irish history to do so.

“I knew recruiting her what she was capable of providing for us,” head coach Niele Ivey said of Hidalgo. “I needed leadership. I needed scoring. And somebody that could just handle the ball … just the experience that she brings.

“And then we obviously fell in love with her. She has an incredible personality. So when you have that match with somebody with high character, somebody that plays with the unselfishness that she plays with, it fits into our system perfectly.”

(Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

Mikaylah Williams, LSU

Williams is another freshman who is making history. Against Kent State in mid-November, she scored 42 points, going 15-of-20 from the field while adding seven rebounds and three steals. Those 42 points set an LSU freshman record for points, and also stand as the most points in a single game for any LSU women’s basketball player in the last 25 seasons.

“She’s a special talent,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “It was one of those moments where the rim feels as big as the ocean. I want to be that coach that pushes her beyond the limits. I think you’re just seeing her scratch the surface.”

She’s averaging 17.5 points per game, and her scoring touch has helped LSU rise to the sky-high expectations they faced ahead of the season – even amid some off-court turmoil.

For Williams to stand out among a top-ranked recruiting class at LSU is no small feat – especially considering the star transfers that the Tigers also brought in during the offseason, with both Hailey Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow making their mark.

JuJu Watkins is continuing on a historic pace, having broken Lisa Leslie’s record for 30-point games by a USC freshman just six games into the season.

As the unanimous No. 1 overall recruit of the 2023 class, Watkins came to the Trojans with high expectations – both from others and from herself. She even went so far as to tell Ari Chambers that among her goals for her college career are to win the national freshman of the year award and to lead USC to the national title by her senior year.

“Definitely have to have a natty by then for sure,” Watkins said.

And she’s off to a solid start.

After scoring a USC record 32 points in her debut, Watkins is averaging 26.8 points per game, sitting second in the nation behind reigning national player of the year Caitlin Clark (29.6). Through the first three weeks of the season, she’s taken home every single Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award – and she probably will take home the next.

Through six career games, Watkins has 161 points, 45 rebounds, 19 assists, 14 steals and 8 blocks, and she has helped USC to a perfect 6-0 record. In the last 20 years, according to OptaSTATS, just one other NBA, WNBA or D-I basketball player has reached all of those numbers over a six-game span: LeBron James.

Watkins also has led the No. 6 Trojans to their highest AP Top 25 ranking since 1994 – when Leslie was in her senior year.

And Watkins has gained the attention of NBA stars, including USC alum DeMar DeRozan.

“I’ve known her for awhile, so I’m not surprised at it at all,” he said of her performances so far. “Not at all. It’s amazing to see what she represent, what she come from. To be able to stay home and bring women’s basketball back to the high level that it’s at. … It’s amazing to see what she’s doing with that. What the whole program is doing. I’m not surprised, but I’m definitely happy for sure.”

USC freshman JuJu Watkins is continuing on her historic pace for the season.

On Wednesday, Watkins had 31 points and 12 rebounds in No. 8 USC’s 71-70 win over Penn State. With the Trojans down six to Penn State with two minutes left, Watkins scored seven straight points to win the game.

While her performance was huge for the Trojans as they avoided the upset, it also made history in the process. It was her third 30-point game of the season, tying Lisa Leslie for the most such games by a freshman in school history, per ESPN Stats & Info. And that’s just five games into the season.

“She’s special,” head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said of Watkins. “There’s no more adjectives I can use.”

“She keeps showing me new things. The most telling thing is how much her teammates freaking love her, because when she gets knocked down and battered, they’re going to play better, because they understand how hard she works and what a great teammate she is.”

And perhaps her best points of the night came right before the half, as Watkins drained a half-court buzzer beater to pull the Trojans even with the Nittany Lions.

“I think it just goes back to the team,” Watkins said when asked how she stays in rhythm. “They put so much trust in me. Even when I’m turning the ball over — tonight wasn’t great for me — but they still believed in me and continued to empower me.”

USC freshman JuJu Watkins has high expectations for her time with the Trojans.

Speaking with Ari Chambers on “ChattHER,” Watkins said that it’s “been great” stepping into her first year. While she had confidence in both the program and in her teammates before college, it’s grown exponentially since she stepped on campus.

“To come here, have my family here, have an even bigger family now that I’m here in the staff, the coaches, my teammates, it’s a dream come true and I couldn’t have wished for anything better,” the Southern California native said.

Watkins’ motivations include the feeling of winning and being able to share that with her team. But she also just wants to be happy, noting that happiness is “everything.”

Already, Watkins has the Trojans (3-0) off to a hot start. She scored 32 points in her debut against Ohio State, the most by a USC freshman in her debut since Lisa Leslie. And against Le Moyne on Monday, she had 35 points.

She’s the first D-I freshman in the last 25 seasons with multiple 30-point games in her first three career games. And she joins Leslie as the only USC freshmen to have multiple 30-point games.

One of her goals this year is to get USC to the NCAA Tournament. Another is to win the national freshman of the year award. Already, she’s off to a good start. And beyond that? She wants to bring USC a national title by her senior year.

“Definitely have to have a natty by then for sure,” she said when asked about what she wants to accomplish in her college career. And then the next thing? “Player of the year, Naismith.”

Juju Watkins is the Gatorade National Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year.

The USC commit, who also won this year’s Naismith High School Player of the Year award, received with the Gatorade award Monday during a photoshoot. WNBA star Candace Parker presented the Sierra Canyon high school senior with the award.

“This is one of the most prestigious awards you can get,” Watkins told The Athletic. “Just to get it and end it off the right way is really special for me. And it just gives me a lot of motivation going into next year at USC.”

As a senior, Watkins led her California high school to a 31-1 record, averaging 27.5 points, 13.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. Last summer, she earned MVP while helping the U-17 U.S. women’s national team to a FIBA World Cup championship.

“Although we already had a legacy and winning culture at Sierra Canyon, Juju took this program to a different level,” Sierra Canyon coach Alicia Komaki told ESPN. “She propelled us to win at the absolute highest level of competition. She took everyone’s best shot and delivered night after night.

“She made our program better… She made her teammates better. She made me a better coach. I truly believe she is one of the best to ever play high school basketball and her legacy will not just be about statistics and championships but how she handled being a superstar.”

As Watkins begins her college career next season with the Trojans, she has her sights set on one thing.

“I hope to add some hardware, some championships,” she said. “Just bringing USC back to what it was.”

USC won NCAA women’s basketball titles in 1983 and 1984 but has made just four March Madness appearances since 2000, including this year.

“Juju had the courage to stay home and is driven to bring USC women’s basketball back to prominence. What a monumental day for all of us in the Trojan family,” USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb said when Watkins announced her commitment to the Trojans in November.

The 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Girls High School Player of the Year watch list was revealed Tuesday, with 38 seniors making an appearance.

Parkway’s Mikaylah Williams, an LSU signee, and Sierra Canyon’s Juju Watkins, a USC signee, are among the marquee names on the watch list. Sophomores Aaliyah Chavez, Jasmine Davidson and ZaKiyah Johnson are the only underclassmen who made the list.

“This group of young women is as talented as we have ever seen,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We are excited to watch them compete this season and see their progression and development throughout the 2022-23 season.”

Jadyn Donovan, a Duke signee, will give Sidwell Friends School an opportunity to claim back-to-back honorees after Kiki Rice won the award in 2021-22. UConn and South Carolina each have three recruits on this year’s list.

“Jersey Mike’s believes in the importance of high school sports,” said Jeff Hemschoot, vice president of marketing for Jersey Mike’s. “We are thrilled to be a part of another great year of girls high school basketball and look forward to honoring a deserving athlete at the end of the season.”

The five finalists for this year’s award will be revealed in February, while the trophy will be awarded to the top player in March.

2023 Naismith High School Girls Player of the Year Watch List

Sunaja Agara, Sr., G, Hopkins (Minn.), Stanford
Kamorea Arnold, Sr., PG, Germantown (Wis.), UConn
Carys Baker, Sr., F, Loomis Chaffee (Conn.), Virginia Tech
Sofia Bell, Sr., Wing, Jesuit (Ore.), Oregon
Madison Booker, Sr., W, Germantown (Miss.), Texas
Zoe Brooks, Sr., G, Saint John Vianney (N.J.), NC State
Jaloni Cambridge, Jr., PG, The Ensworth School, Uncommitted
Justice Carlton, Jr., PG, Seven Lakes (Texas), Uncommitted
Aaliyah Chavez, Soph., PG, Monterey (Texas), Uncommitted
Essence Cody, Sr., Post, Valdosta (Ga.), Alabama
Diana Collins, Sr., PG, Brookwood (Ga.), Ohio State
Breya Cunningham, Sr., Post, La Jolla Country Day (Calif.), Arizona
Jasmine Davidson, Soph., Wing, Clackamas (Ore.), Uncommitted
Aalyah Del Rosario, Sr., Post, The Webb School (Tenn.), LSU
Jadyn Donovan, Sr., G, Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.), Duke
Joyce Edwards, Jr., F, Camden (S.C.), Uncommitted
Milaysia Fulwiley, Sr., PG, W.J. Keenan (S.C.), South Carolina
Hannah Hidalgo, Sr., PG, Paul VI (N.J.), Notre Dame
Sahnya Jah, Sr., Wing, Montverde Academy (Fla.), South Carolina
Kymora Johnson, Sr., G, Saint Anne’s-Belfield (Va.), Virginia
Tessa Johnson, Sr., G, Saint Michael Albertville (Minn.), South Carolina
ZaKiyah Johnson, Soph., G, Sacred Heart (Ky.), Uncommitted
Ari Long, Sr., PG, Valley View (Calif.), Washington
Amanda Muse, Sr., Post, Heritage (Calif.), UCLA
Riley Nelson, Sr., Wing, Bullis School (Md.), Maryland
Mackenzie Nelson, Sr., PG, St. Luke’s School (Conn.), Virginia Tech
S’mya Nichols, Sr., Wing, Shawnee Mission West (Kan.), Kansas
Courtney Ogden, Sr., Wing, Westminster School (Ga.), Stanford
Olivia Olson, Jr., PG, Benilde Saint Margaret (Minn.), Michigan
Britt Prince, Jr., PG, Elkhorn North (Neb.), Uncommitted
Cassandre Prosper, Sr., F, Cairine Wilson Secondary School (Quebec, Canada), Notre Dame
Laila Reynolds, Sr., G, Shabach Christian Academy (Md.), Florida
Amiyah Reynolds, Sr., G, Washington (Ind.), Maryland
Emma Risch, Sr., G, Palm Bay Magnet (Fla.), Notre Dame
Qadence Samuels, Sr., F, Bishop McNamara (Md.), UConn
Taliah Scott, Sr., G, Saint John’s Country Day (Fla.), Arkansas
Sayvia Sellers, Sr., PG, Anchorage Christian Schools (Alaska), Washington
Ashlynn Shade, Sr., G, La Lumiere (Ind.), UConn
Sarah Strong, Jr., F, Grace Academy (N.C.), Uncommitted
Adhel Tac, Jr., Post, South Grand Prairie (Texas), Uncommitted
Delaney Thomas, Sr., F, St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.), Duke
Blanca Thomas, Jr., Post, Charlotte Catholic (N.C.), Uncommitted
Ciera Toomey, Sr., Post, Dunmore (Penn.), North Carolina
Letycia Vasconcelos, Sr., Post, Montverde Academy (Fla.), Baylor
Sammie Wagner, Sr., Wing, Ronald Reagan (Texas), Oregon
Juju Watkins, Sr., G, Sierra Canyon (Calif.), USC
Mikaylah Williams, Sr., G, Parkway (La.), LSU
Jada Williams, Sr., PG, La Jolla Country Day (Calif.), Arizona
Sahara Williams, Sr., Wing, West (Iowa), Oklahoma
Allie Ziebell, Jr., G, Neenah (Wis.), Uncommitted

Juju Watkins is staying home.

One of the top recruits in the class of 2023 announced her decision to play college basketball at the University of Southern California on Tuesday. Watkins grew up just 10 minutes from the USC campus, and her family, she said, was the main reason for staying close to home.

Watkins took great care with her decision, which she announced in front of her friends and classmates at Sierra Canyon.

“I didn’t want to rush this process,” Watkins told ESPN. “A lot of people in my class had already committed before me, and I definitely was taking my time. But I want to make sure it was 1,000% where I wanted to go.”

She chose the Trojans over current women’s basketball powerhouses South Carolina and Stanford, ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the AP Top 25. USC is unranked.

With the Cardinal or the Gamecocks, Watkins would be stepping into a team that is already built for NCAA titles. With USC, she will be a part of the building process. In fact, Watkins will be the central building block for a historic Trojans program that hasn’t been in conversation with elite teams for quite some time.

But Watkins changes that, almost instantly.

“Juju is the best and most decorated player of her class both in the country and internationally, ” USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb said in a press release. “I could talk for days about her skill set: her shot-making ability, creativity to the rim, dominance on the boards, defensive tenacity and her elite court vision.

“But what I am most excited about is that JuJu the human being is joining the USC family. This is a young woman with transcendent talent, but she is also uniquely motivated. She is about things bigger than herself: her family, her team, her community, her city. Juju had the courage to stay home and is driven to bring USC women’s basketball back to prominence. What a monumental day for all of us in the Trojan family.”

USC was a powerhouse in the 1980s, with All-Americans Cheryl Miller, Paula McGee and Rhonda Windham leading the Trojans to an NCAA championship in 1983. They repeated the feat in 1984.

But recent women’s basketball history has belonged to teams like UConn and Baylor, as well as the last two teams competing with USC for Watkins – South Carolina and Stanford. The Trojans haven’t made an NCAA tournament since 2014, and after being a mainstay throughout the ’80s and most of the ’90s, USC has made just three March Madness appearances since 2000.

Watkins is the kind of talent that can transform a program — or in USC’s case, restore it to its former glory.

The 6-foot-1 guard has been called a generational talent after leading Sierra Canyon to a state title in her junior season with 24.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.0 blocks per game, among other accomplishments, including playing for the United States U-17 and U-16 national teams.

Watkins is a versatile guard, which along with her obvious talent makes her the ideal player to build a team around. And Gottlieb is already working on finding pieces to surround Watkins. Four-star recruit Malia Samuels, a point guard from Seattle, joins Watkins in the class of 2023.

It’s also worth noting that nine players on the ESPN Top 100 recruiting list for 2024 are from California. And with Watkins staying home to play for the Trojans, she could encourage more players to join her in staying home.