USF's Laksa named AAC Freshman of the Year
Bulls 6-footer Kitija Laksa, a Latvian long-range specialist whose 70 3-pointers lead the American Athletic Conference, has been named the league's Freshman of the Year.
The honor was announced at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., site of this weekend's conference tournament. On Thursday, Laksa was named to the coaches All-AAC second team and was a unanimous choice for the All-Freshman squad.
Bulls senior Courtney Williams was named the league's Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's basketball. Named a unanimous first-team All-AAC pick for the second year in a row on Thursday, Williams graduates in May with a criminology degree.
UConn senior Breanna Stewart was named the league's Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.
Laksa, questionable for the tournament with a right-ankle injury, enters March as the Bulls' No. 2 scorer (13.4 ppg). Her season highlight occurred Jan. 7, when she scored 38 -- second-most in AAC history -- in a victory against SMU.
Her 42.4-percent effort from 3-point range (70-for-165) leads the conference and ranks 31st in Division I. In league games only, Laksa is shooting 49.5 percent (54-for-109).
“We knew when we recruited Kitija that she was going to be an immediate impact,” Coach Jose Fernandez said in a USF news release. “We had some kids hurt during league play and she (stepped) up. She got better as the year progressed and when we needed her, she produced.”
Elsewhere, Williams (21.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg) is among 15 players on the final Wooden Award ballot. She enters Saturday's quarterfinal against SMU one rebound shy of notching 2,000 points, 900 rebounds and 300 assists for her career.