A rematch of this past season’s Elite Eight is set for Dec. 21, when Paige Bueckers and UConn women’s basketball will face-off against JuJu Watkins and USC women’s basketball.

The game will serve as a sequel to their dramatic Elite Eight encounter in March, where the Huskies emerged victorious with a 80-73 win, advancing to their 15th Final Four in 16 years, where they lost to Caitlin Clark and Iowa.

The exact venue in Connecticut for the December Huskies vs. Trojans match up remains undecided, with UConn historically splitting its home games between Gampel Pavilion, the XL Center in Hartford, and occasionally, Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville.

The upcoming season's matchup is not just a single game but the beginning of a two-game series, with UConn agreeing to play in Los Angeles during the 2025-26 season, per UConn women’s basketball.The schools’ brief history has seen UConn winning all three previous encounters, setting the stage for an intense competition next season, via the Associated Press.

Elite Eight between UConn, USC showcases some of women's college basketball's best

USC Trojans guard JuJu Watkins (12) drives to the basket during the second half against UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5) in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center.
© Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Elite Eight was a testament to the talent present in women's college basketball. Watkins delivered an impressive performance despite USC's loss, with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Bueckers, who had a stellar game with 28 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, showed her leadership on and off the court. Despite Watkins’ efforts, USC struggled with inefficiency, a testament to the tactical battle that UConn coach Geno Auriemma won that day.

USC’s offense was heavily reliant on Watkins, who managed to make nine out of 25 field goal attempts and was perfect from the free-throw line. The Trojans were challenged by UConn’s defense, managing only a 32.9% shooting success rate, significantly below their usual performance. The Huskies, on the other hand, excelled from the three-point line, shooting 46.7%.

Paige Bueckers returns for fifth season

UConn Huskies guard Paige Bueckers (5) reacts in the second quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bueckers announced in February that she would be returning to UConn for a fifth season rather than declare for the WNBA Draft, an option that she had due to the NCAA COVID-19 waiver for student athletes. Her decision to return adds another layer of intrigue to the highly anticipated game against USC.

After propelling the Huskies to a Final Four in 2021, Bueckers faced significant challenges with injuries over the following two years. She initially underwent surgery on her right ankle between her freshman and sophomore years, then sustained a left knee injury in December that required surgical intervention and sidelined her for over two months.

In August 2022, Bueckers experienced a severe setback with an ACL tear in her left knee, leading to surgery and a year-long recovery that forced her to redshirt her junior year. Returning for the 2023-24 season, she made a strong comeback, averaging 21.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, while shooting 53.0% from the field, 41.6% from three-point range, and 83.4% from the free-throw line.