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Flores, Laksa lead way for Bulls in win

Maria Jespersen (above) scored double digit points Sunday for the second game in a row. THE ORACLE/CHAVELI GUZMAN

After a close 61-55 victory over LSU on Friday night, No. 23 USF (2-0) had more room to breathe Sunday afternoon.

The Bulls, behind four players scoring double-digit points, knocked off Houston Baptist (0-1) 90-43 in front of an announced crowd of 2,022 at the Sun Dome. Junior forward Kitija Laksa led all scorers with 26 points.       

“The first half wasn’t pretty,” Laksa said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well. I didn’t shoot the ball well, and I don’t think like we all felt like this was our game.”

The Bulls shot 29 percent from the field in the 1st quarter, but still took a commanding 40-18 lead into halftime.

While Laksa led all scorers, senior point guard Laia Flores was what made the Bulls’ offense click, finishing the game two rebounds and two assists short of a triple double while scoring 14 points.

“I thought Laia Flores had a really special game,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “You look at that stat sheet … that’s as good as it gets.”          

Laksa also acknowledged her teammate’s outstanding game.

“I’m happy about Laia,” Laksa said. “The way she played and the stat line she had tonight. It was incredible, to be honest.”

In addition to Laksa and Flores, seniors Laura Ferreira and Maria Jespersen were the other two Bulls to score points in double figures. Fernandez noted that games like these are what his team is all about.

“That’s who we are,” Fernandez said. “When we share, we should have four or five guys in double figures.”         

On the other side of the ball, Houston Baptist was led by sophomore forward Sophie Taylor who recorded 15 points. The next two leading scorers for the Huskies, sophomore Shannon Jones and junior Veronika Kirienko, combined for fewer points than Taylor, with seven points each.

Next up for USF is a game against Arkansas State on Friday followed by Butler on Nov. 20.  Both games are at the Sun Dome and are set for a 7 p.m. start.

“Good opening weekend,” Fernandez said. “Won two games and now we’ve got a little bit of time to prepare for the next two here at home.”