USC basketball star JuJu Watkins takes a shot at Dodger Stadium

USC basketball star JuJu Watkins takes a shot at Dodger Stadium

USC basketball star JuJu Watkins takes a shot at Dodger Stadium

University of Southern California basketball player Juju Watkins gestures after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels, Saturday, June 22, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES – USC basketball star JuJu Watkins had a different kind of ball in his hand at Dodger Stadium.

She threw out the ceremonial first pitch Saturday night before the Freeway Series matchup between the Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers.

“This is probably the most nervous I’ve ever been,” she previously said. “Basketball comes easy, not baseball.”

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Watkins had said he would throw left-handed because of a sprained right index finger. But he warmed up by throwing right-handed and locked in with his dominant hand to give Dodgers pitcher Gavin Stone a shot behind the plate.

“I always see her on social media,” she said. “I never thought I’d throw a pitch.”

Watkins wore a custom Dodgers jersey, and after pitching from the mound, she gave the traditional pregame call: “It’s time for Dodger baseball.” She was accompanied by her parents and a cousin.

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As a freshman, Watkins led Southern California to its best season in years, winning the Pac-12 championship before falling one win short of a Final Four appearance. She is riding the wave of increased interest in women’s sports, especially basketball.

“The women in this sport are incredible and just to see the rise of the game, it’s so inspiring,” she said. “It’s definitely a collective effort. I wouldn’t say I’m the only one responsible. Just make sure I do my part.”

Watkins took a break after the season ended and recently vacationed in Mexico.

“Now I’m ready to go back,” she said. “There are so many things to improve on.”