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USF Women’s Basketball Picked to Finish Second in AAC (Again); Laksa, Ferreira Make Preseason All-Conference Teams

The Bulls earned one first place vote. Shoutout to Geno!

NCAA Womens Basketball: South Florida at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

In the least surprising news of the day, the USF women’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the American Athletic Conference by the coaches behind UConn once again at the AAC Media Days held in Philadelphia Sunday and Monday.

The Bulls received one first-place vote courtesy of UConn head coach Geno Auriemma because coaches can’t vote for their own team.

USF finished last season 26-8 and have won 20 games in six-straight seasons and they also made their fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, although they bombed out in the first round to Buffalo 102-79.

The Bulls will rely on seniors Kitija Laksa and Laura Ferreira to set the tone and pace for a young team that sports six freshmen and four sophomores. Head coach Jose Fernandez will have to replace point guard Laia Flores and G/F Maria Jespersen with unproven young guards.

Laksa was a unanimous first-team preseason all-conference pick and it’s her third time making the preseason first team. The senior from Riga, Latvia spend her summer and fall playing in the FIBA Women’s World Cup for her home country. It was the first time Latvia had ever qualified for the tournament, so naturally they had to face the USA in the group stages. Although Latvia didn’t win a game during the tournament, Laksa scored 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting against the Red, White, and Blue.

Laksa’s mortal enemy, UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson, was selected as the preseason Player of the Year.

Ferreira landed on the second-team preseason all-conference list for the first time in her career. The do-it-all winger will likely run some point and guard the opponents’ best player every night. The senior from Portugal averaged 10 PPG, 6.8 RPG and over three assists as a junior.

The Bulls open the season at Ohio State on November 6 and their home opener is November 9 versus the University at Albany.