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In wake of 77-point weekend, USF’s Kitija Laksa honored by AAC

Two days after scoring 36 points against Notre Dame, USF's Kitija Laksa was honored by the American Athletic Conference.
USF junior Kitija Laksa hit nine of 11 3-pointers in a 76-66 loss Saturday to Notre Dame in Estero. (Times file photo)
USF junior Kitija Laksa hit nine of 11 3-pointers in a 76-66 loss Saturday to Notre Dame in Estero. (Times file photo)
Published Nov. 27, 2017
Updated Nov. 28, 2017

On a weekend dominated locally by the "War on I-4," Kitija Laksa quietly thrived off I-75.

The 6-foot Bulls junior was named American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, two days after her mesmerizing 36-point effort in the USF women's 76-66 loss to then-No. 6 Notre Dame in the Gulf Coast Showcase semifinals in Estero.

Laksa went 9-for-11 from 3-point range, tallying the most treys in a single game of any Irish opponent. The next day, she had 18 points and eight rebounds in a 68-59 win against St. John's.

"She had some of those type of games last year," said Bulls coach Jose Fernandez, who has watched the Latvia native record eight career 30-point games.

"I don't think she gets the attention that she deserves from some outlets around the country, but I think as the season goes along and our team continues to do well, she'll garner the attention."

Laksa finished the three-game event with 77 total points, going 16-for-26 from long range. In the Showcase opener, an 82-45 rout of Washington State, she scored 23 points and went 5-of-9 from 3-point range.

She was the only player not from Notre Dame or South Carolina to make the Showcase all-tournament team.

"I think it's a credit to her teammates, No. 1, setting screens; and also our point guard getting her the ball in the right places," Fernandez said. "So that goes hand in hand. At the end of the day, she's also making those shots."

USF (6-1) held steady at No. 17 in the newest Associated Press poll released Monday. Notre Dame moved to No. 3 after defeating reigning national champ South Carolina 92-85 in the Showcase final.