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Preview: No. 8 USC Trojans, No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes highlight Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship field

The Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship begins Monday, Nov. 20. Ten teams, highlighted by No. 8 USC and No. 15 Ohio State, are participating in the non-bracketed tournament.

USC v Ohio State
Both JuJu Watkins’ Trojans and Cotie McMahon’s Buckeyes will participate in the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The No. 8 USC Trojans (3-0) and No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-1) highlight the 10-team Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship in Nassau, Bahamas.

While the tournament will not feature a rematch of the season opener between the two teams, when the Trojans upset the higher-ranked Buckeyes behind a dazzling college debut from JuJu Watkins, 10 intriguing games will take place at the Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Center.

Each team will play two games in the non-bracketed tournament. The first set of games begins Monday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. ET. The second set of five games is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 22, with the first contest again beginning at 11 a.m. ET. All games are available on FloHoops.

Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 participating teams:

No. 8 USC Trojans (3-0)

Will JuJu Watkins turn the Pink Flamingo Championship into her personal showcase? Arriving at USC with sky-high expectations, the freshman guard has thrived through any extra pressure. Watkins’ 28.3 points per game not only leads the Trojans, but also puts her second in the nation in scoring—behind only Iowa’s Caitlin Clark.

Yet, USC is undefeated because the Women of Troy’s talent extends beyond the freshman phenom. Junior center Rayah Marshall serves as a steady interior presence for the Trojans with 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. Seton Hall Pirates (9 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (9 p.m. ET)

No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-1)

Nothing spoils a trip to the Bahamas like having to face Ohio State’s defense. At least, that’s the sentiment the Buckeyes hope to inspire in their opponents.

Since dropping the opener to aforementioned USC, Ohio State has cruised to a pair of convincing wins; they should do the same against East Carolina and Oklahoma State. After struggling against the Trojans, sophomore star Cotie McMahon has turned in two highly-efficient games of 22 and 24 points. Fifth-year guard Jacy Sheldon is doing Jacy Sheldon things, making an impact in all areas of the game with 18.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. East Carolina Pirates (1:30 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. Oklahoma State Cowgirls (6:30 p.m. ET)

Georgia Lady Bulldogs (3-1)

It’s been a somewhat uneven start to the season for the Lady Dawgs. A too-close first half in an eventual season opening win over NC A&T was followed by pitiful first quarter in an eventual loss to Belmont. Georgia since has two-straight wins by at least 20 points, suggesting they are finding their form.

With nine players seeing at least 10 minutes per game, the Dawgs have reliable depth. However, winning consistently requires star power. Thus far, fifth-year big Javyn Nicholson is doing her best to assume that role, leading Georgia with 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. Columbia Lions (11 a.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. Purdue Boilermakers (4 p.m. ET)

Columbia Lions (2-2)

Last week, Columbia gave Duke quite the scare, falling by just four points at home. The Lions will have two more opportunities to best a Power 5 opponent, meeting a pair of SEC teams in Georgia and Florida in Nassau.

Senior guard Abbey Hsu has been outstanding for Columbia, leading the Lions with 21.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She was named Ivy League Player of the Week for for the season’s first week. In Columbia’s second game of the season, a victory over another Pink Flamingo Championship participant in Seton Hall, Hsu became the Ivy League’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. Georgia Lady Bulldogs (11 a.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. Florida Gators (1:30 p.m. ET)

East Carolina Pirates (2-1)

Named the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Preseason Player of the Year, Danae McNeal has lived up to such expectations to start the season. The senior guard has scored 19 points per game, while also snagging almost five steals per contest. Freshman guard Karina Gordon has provided an off-the-bench spark for the Pirates. The AAC Freshman of the Week for the first week of the season, Gordon opened her collegiate career with seven quick points in the first half of East Carolina’s win over Elon.

Both players will need to be at their best—or better than their best—to overcome the swarming perimeter defense of Ohio State.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (1:30 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. Seton Hall Pirates (11 a.m. ET)

Florida Gators (3-1)

For three quarters, Florida held No. 12 FSU in check, but a fourth-quarter explosion from the Seminoles prevented the Gators from enjoying the upset of their in-state rivals on Friday. In games against a pair of pesky teams in Purdue and Columbia, Florida can demonstrate the lessons learned, maintaining the defensive discipline needed to defeat top teams.

On the offense end, the Gators can keep turning to Aliyah Matharu. The senior guard, who finally debuted for the Gators this season after transferring from Texas, has not disappointed. She leads Florida with 19.2 points, four assists and two steals per game.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. Purdue Boilermakers (4 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. Columbia Lions (1:30 p.m. ET)

Purdue Boilermakers (2-1)

While a more than 40-point loss at UCLA to open the season showed Purdue the severe separation between their status and that of the nation’s best, the Boilermakers have not been deterred, responding with a pair of home wins.

The latest victory over an upstart Texas A&M team is particularly encouraging. The Boilermakers held the Aggies to 58 points as fifth-year guard Abbey Ellis and freshman guard Rashunda Jones provided matching 20-point performances. Fifth-year guard Jeanae Terry dished 10 assists, while sixth-year forward Caitlyn Harper grabbed 11 boards.

With similar team-wide efforts, the Boilermakers can take down two more SEC teams.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. Florida Gators (4 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. Georgia Lady Bulldogs (4 p.m. ET)

Oklahoma State Cowgirls (2-1)

The Cowgirls have decided that the 3 is the key to victory. It nearly proved true when Oklahoma State took on a top-five Colorado team in Boulder on Sunday, Nov. 12.

The Cowgirls attempted 28 3-pointers and made 15 of them—good for 53.6 percent. Junior guard Anna Gret Asi made six triples and senior forward Lior Garzon added four, while freshman guard Stailee Heard went 3-for4 from deep. The Buffaloes, in contrast, made only six shots from behind arc. That nine 3-pointer—and 27-point—advantage put Oklahoma State in position for the upset, until they allowed Colorado to score 30 points in the fourth quarter.

Sharper defense, to go along with their sharp shooting, will be needed in matchups against against Penn State and Ohio State.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (6:30 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (9 p.m. ET)

Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0)

While it is disappointing that lingering injury troubles have prevented grad guard Ashley Owusu from making her Penn State debut, it has otherwise been an encouraging start to the season for the Nittany Lions. With four wins, including a victory over a Big 12 contender in Kansas, Penn State thus far looks like a team that will not finish in the cellar of the Big Ten. A win over another Big 12 foe in Oklahoma State and a respectable effort against USC should have hopes high in Happy Valley.

In Owusu’s absence, Makenna Marisa again has served as the straw that stirs the drink for the Nittany Lions. The fifth-year senior leads her team with 19.8 points and 4.5 assists per game. Impressively, junior guard Leilani Kapinus tops the Nittany Lions in boards and blocks; at 5-foot-10, she’s grabbing 7.8 rebounds and swatting two shots per game.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. Oklahoma State Cowgirls (6:30 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. No. 8 USC Trojans (9 p.m. ET)

Seton Hall Pirates (3-1)

A nine-point loss to fellow Pink Flamingo Championship participant Columbia is the only blemish on Seton Hall’s early season record. Otherwise, they’ve collected three resounding victories. However, they begin the tournament with quite the challenge—a date with ascendant USC.

Sophomore guard Micah Gray has been stellar to start the season, shooting 57.5 percent from the field and 51.9 percent from 3 as she has scored a team-best 16 points per game. Experienced grad wing Azana Baines has not yet settled into a similarly efficient offensive rhythm, but she still is contributing 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and more than two “stocks” (steals+blocks) per game.

Monday, Nov. 20: vs. No. 8 USC Trojans (9 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, Nov. 22: vs. East Carolina Pirates (11 a.m. ET)