March 6, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: USC’s Lindsay Gottlieb talks JuJu Watkins and how to build a winning team

USC Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb dives deep with Howard Megdal about how to build a winning team

On Wednesday’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Howard Megdal sat down with USC Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb to discuss all the winning her team is doing. Lindsay immediately dispels the idea that she is the major reason behind her team’s success – shifting an entire program is a “team effort,” she says, and “it takes an administration, a player buy-in, and a whole staff.” Going into the Pac-12 tournament at 23-5, with players like the legendary freshman JuJu Watkins, Lindsay has built a lot to be proud of. But in addition to celebrating her team’s success, she’s aware of how much work it took to build her squad. “We weren’t on many people’s radars in terms of high rankings,” Lindsay reflects. “People didn’t necessarily see [us] coming.” For Lindsay, it appears that not only USC’s success, but also the surprise effect it’s emitted throughout women’s basketball, has made the season even sweeter.

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Howard and Lindsay then move onto discussing some of the details of this successful team – notably, star freshman JuJu Watkins. “I don’t even know where to start when we talk about her,” Howard admits, but he asks Lindsay if she “knew about the player she was getting.” While Lindsay says that she knew Watkins was “really different,” there are certain “eye-popping” things she can do that were just impossible to predict. But “I knew when she got here in the summer,” Lindsay says, “that she was going to be a next-level pick.”

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Later, Howard and Lindsay talk about what it takes these days to maintain a competitive roster. Howard asks Lindsay what she thinks is necessary to get a team to the Final Four, and Lindsay’s first response is to embrace the “March mentality.” In addition, Lindsay suggests that a competitive team needs to not only have talent but “play with joy… love being around one another,” but at the same time “play with urgency.” And, does she expect USC to go far in the tournament? The thought, Lindsay says, “gives me goosebumps.”

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