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USF’s Kitija Laksa won’t enter 2019 WNBA draft

But the injured offensive star doesn’t say if she’ll play play for USF next season
USF senior Kitija Laksa (right) embraces Coach Jose Fernandez during senior night festivities at the Yuengling Center on March 4. Laksa, limited to only three games this past season after suffering a knee injury, can seek a hardship waiver if she wishes to play in 2019-20. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times]
Published Mar. 31
Updated Mar. 31

After months of speculation, USF women's standout and bona fide WNBA draft prospect Kitija Laksa has addressed her future.

Sort of.

Laksa, the program’s No. 6 all-time scorer who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Game 3 this past season, announced via Instagram on Sunday she won’t enter this year’s draft.

But the 6-foot senior from Latvia didn’t indicate whether she’ll seek a hardship waiver and play for USF in the 2019-20 season. A professional career overseas also remains an option.

"I have decided not to enter this year's WNBA draft," Laksa wrote. "I will be focusing on my knee's rehabilitation and taking it day by day."

Bulls coach Jose Fernandez said Sunday that he has spoken with Laksa, and indicated she’s simply keeping all options open at this point.

“I’m at peace with whatever she decides,” he said.

A two-time unanimous first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick, Laksa led USF in scoring as a junior (21.1 ppg) and sophomore (19.2 ppg). As a junior, she was the only Division I player to record two 40-point games, and scored at least 30 three other times.

She also set an NCAA single-game record with 11 consecutive 3-pointers in a game, and led the NCAA ― all divisions, men or women ― in free-throw percentage (96.5), finishing 111-for-115 from the stripe.

But she tore her right ACL in an 88-39 romp of Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 15, landing awkwardly near the baseline after trying to catch a long pass in transition.

Should Laksa, set to graduate this spring with a psychology degree, attempt to play for USF next season, she’d enter the year with 1,764 career points. She’d need 10 to pass Angie Snyder for fifth place on the school’s career list, and 639 to eclipse career top scorer Jessica Dickson.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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