February 29, 2024
USC's Kayla Padilla, right, regains control of the ball in front of UCLA's Londynn Jones.

USC’s Kayla Padilla, right, regains control of the ball in front of UCLA’s Londynn Jones during the Bruins’ win at Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 30.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Marshall is one of several local players at the center of the women’s basketball revolution at USC and UCLA. The All-Pac-12 selection has teamed with star freshman JuJu Watkins as USC’s top L.A. stars, appealing to the community that is responding by bringing some of the largest crowds in decades.

Marshall acknowledges she has close friends on UCLA, but personal history won’t matter Sunday.

“In between those four lines, if you’re not wearing SC, then at the end of the day, I gotta go after you,” said Marshall, who is averaging 13 points and 10.5 rebounds .

Marshall played on the U.S. national team this summer at the Americup tournament with UCLA’s Charisma Osborne and Lauren Betts. Osborne, a fifth-year guard who was named The Times’ player of the year three times while starring at Windward, played against USC’s Kayla Padilla in high school. Padilla is one of two Bishop Montgomery alumnae on USC’s roster, joining guard Kayla Williams. Londynn Jones, a Riverside native, and Camarillo’s Gabriela Jaquez are two of UCLA’s five players averaging double figures in scoring.

Padilla’s ties to UCLA are tricky, the point guard said. She wears No. 45, a nod to her high school coach, Noelle Quinn, one of UCLA’s all-time greats. The current Seattle Storm coach was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020 as the first UCLA player to total 1,700 points, 700 rebounds and 400 assists in her career.

Padilla, a transfer from Pennsylvania, wore Quinn’s jersey number while racking up first-team All-Ivy League honors three times at her previous school, but had to get permission again to bring it to Quinn’s rival. Padilla asked by text.

“She left me on read for a little bit,” Padilla joked. “So there was some hesitation. But she was more than happy to let me.”

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