Laksa Named American Player of the Week
TAMPA, JAN. 9, 2017 – A 2-0 conference start for the University of South Florida women’s basketball team was fueled by the duo of Kitija Laksa and Maria Jespersen, and the pair were honored by the conference Monday. Laksa earned her second conference player of the week honor this season while Jespersen landed on the weekly honor roll for the fourth consecutive week.
In two games last week, Laksa (Riga, Latvia) averaged 24.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per outing. Against Tulsa, Laksa scored a new season-high 37 points Saturday night. The sophomore finished 7-for-14 from behind the arc and 13-for-25 from the field in one of the best shooting performances of the season. Laksa accounted for seven of the team’s 10 three-pointers and just under half of the team’s points. The sophomore added five rebounds and one steal in 39 minutes of action.
Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) turned in her third and fourth consecutive double-double performances against Tulane and Tulsa. The junior averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and behind the arc. At Tulane, Jespersen turned in 13 points and 10 rebounds and Saturday she posted 20 points and 12 rebounds against Tulsa. Jespersen shot 44 percent from the floor (8-of-18) and 50 percent from deep (3-of-6). The junior added a game-high four offensive rebounds and two assists.
Jespersen, Laksa and the Bulls travel to Hartford. Conn.,Tuesday for their first top-25 match-up of the season. USF will face No. 1 UConn at the XL Center at 7 p.m. and Tuesday’s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
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The Bulls return eight players from last season, and have signed six newcomers to the roster. American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Kitija Laksa will lead a squad full of international flavor that boasts nine players from around the world. USF will look to extend its postseason streak to five consecutive seasons and return to the conference championship for the third time in as many years.
USF has made 12 postseason tournament appearances and had four NCAA Tournament berths in Head Coach Jose Fernandez’s 16 seasons. The all-time winningest coach in program history, Fernandez has guided USF to seven 20-win seasons, two WNIT final four appearances, the 2009 WNIT championship and won more than 280 games.
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