USF ATHLETICS GoUSFBulls.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: January 20, 2018
WEB LINK: http://bit.ly/2mTgQC6
Women’s Basketball Takes First Trip to Wichita
Matchup: No. 23 USF (15-4, 5-1 The American) at Wichita State (8-12, 3-3 The American) Date: Sunday, Jan. 21 Time: 4:00 p.m. ET Location: Wichita, Kan. | Charles Koch Arena Watch: CBS Sports Network
Radio: AM 820 (Darek Sharp)
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TAMPA, JAN. 20, 2018 – The USF women’s basketball team looks to extend its three-game win streak Sunday in the program’s first trip to Wichita State. The Bulls are slated to tip-off against the Shockers at 4 p.m. ET on CBS Sports network.
The Bulls (15-4, 4-1 The American) return to the state of Kansas for the first time since winning the WNIT Championship at Kansas in 2008. It’s been 10 years since USF’s stunning 75-71 road victory in Lawrence. USF will battle the Shockers for just the second time in program history. Wichita State joined the American Athletic Conference for the 2017-18 season.
In their last three outings, the Bulls have run past the competition, outscoring league opponents by 17.3 points per game. Maria Jespersen (Arhus, Denmark) has shined in the Bulls’ three-game streak, averaging 21.3 points per game. Jespersen is fresh off a career night at Memphis Wednesday, when the senior turned in 31 points and 10 rebounds in her ninth double-double this season.
USF is in sole possession of second place in league standings but will be put to the test against a strong Wichita State squad. The match-up will feature two of the most prolific scorers in the country. Junior sharp shooter Kitija Laksa (Riga, Latvia) has a career scoring average of 17.1 points per game and she will go head to head with Shockers’ senior Rangie Bessard who also has a career point average of 17.1 points per game. Bessard ranks 13th in the NCAA active career leaders scoring list while Laksa follows at No. 14.
Wichita State (8-12, 3-3 The American) has rallied back from an 0-3 start in The American and has won its last three games. The Shockers are 6-3 at home this season and are led by Bessard and Diamond Lockhart, who average 18.7 and 10.2 points per game respectively. Wichita State averages 65.2 points per game and have held their last three opponents to 61-points or less.
The Bulls and Shockers will meet for the second time in program history. It will be the pair's first meeting since 1983.
The Bulls are 5-1 on the road this season and haven't lost on the road since Dec. 9. USF has won four consecutive games on the road.
Laia Flores leads the league in three different categories: assist-turnover ratio (3.72), assists (119) and assists per game (6.3). She ranks in the top 20 nationally in all three categories.
Kitija Laksa has made 38-consecutive free throws through 13 games this season. The junior is almost perfect from the charity stripe, and leads the country with a .980 free throw percentage (48-of-39). Laksa’s only missed free throw was her first of four attempts against Notre Dame (Nov. 25).
The Bulls have held opponents to 65-points or less 12 times this season and are a perfect 12-0 when limiting teams to 65-points or less.
USF is currently receiving votes in the AP poll and is No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Bulls started the season ranked No. 23/22 and peaked at No. 16 (AP – week 4) and No. 16 (Coaches – weeks 3-4). USF has been ranked in the coaches’ poll every week and has received votes in every AP Poll. The program’s highest ranking in both polls was in 2016, when the Bulls were ranked No. 15 (AP – Jan. 18 | Coaches – Jan. 19).
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