Laksa honored, Bulls crack top 20

Freshman Kitija Laksa was named AAC Player of the Week after averaging 23.3 points, shooting 52 percent from the field in the games. ORACLE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

After one of the better shooting performances in recent USF women’s basketball memory, freshman guard Kitija Laksa was honored as the American Athletic Conference Women’s Player of the Week after scoring 76 points in three games last week.

Laksa’s career week included a 38-point, lights-out shooting performance in the Bulls’ 83-56 rout of SMU – the second most points in the AAC’s three-year history. The 6-foot Latvian native went 8-of-12 against the Mustangs and 17-of-27 overall in her three appearances.

“Sometimes you get kids to come from overseas, they can do one thing and you try to get the most out of them,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma whose team rides a 49-game winning streak.

“She’s impressed me that she’s not just going to stand there and shoot threes. She’s more than that. I think she’s going to be really good.”

Laksa continued her tear against the Huskies (14-0), going 5-of-7 and aiding the Bulls’ charge near the end of the game. Though the Bulls (10-6) – only the fourth team to come within 20 points of the nation’s top team — lost 75-59 without their leading rebounder and second leading scorer, senior Alisia Jenkins, Laksa did her best to fill the void.

The Bulls were rewarded with a three-spot jump in the AP poll, cracking the top 20 at No. 19.

Even with Jenkins out with an ankle injury, USF put together a strong showing against what is arguably one of the greatest sports dynasties of the decade. The Bulls led by as many as eight in the first period and only trailed by five at the half.

USF travels to the Big Easy on Wednesday to take on Tulane (12-4) at 8 p.m.