Dec. 19, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mel Greenberg
215-815-5943
Pair of foreign-born players lauded for weekly honors
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LAKSA, ELGEDAWY ARE USBWA WOMEN'S
NATIONAL, FRESHMAN PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – For the season's third U.S. Basketball Writers Association Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's National Player of the Week and the organization's women's freshman player honor, South Florida junior guard Kitija Laksa is national player while Western Kentucky forward Raneem Elgedawy has been tabbed for the freshman citation after each were involved in helping their teams go unbeaten in games ending the week of Sunday, Dec. 17.

The USBWA weekly honors for Division I women's players will be handed out each Tuesday this season.

As the American Athletic Conference player and Conference freshman weekly winners, both were nominated for the awards, which were chosen by Mel Greenberg, the USBWA coordinator for women's basketball from a pair of lists of Division I conference players and freshmen of the week.

Laksa, a 6-0 guard from Riga, Latvia, who was a weekly USBWA freshman honoree in 2015, averaged 22 points in a pair of wins by South Florida but it was in the first against Southern University that she gained acclaimed setting an NCAA record connecting on 11-straight 3-point attempts. She missed her first from beyond the arc before launching her string to finish with 40 points, shooting 13-16 overall from the field in becoming the second in program history to reach that total.

Elgedawy, a 6-4 forward from Alexandria, Egypt, in three games averaged 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds. In one she gained her second double-double and also for the first time in her career scored in double figures and shot 50 percent or more in three consecutive games.

This is the first time both USBWA women’s weekly honorees are foreign-born since the freshman award was added in the 2014-15 season.

Since the 1987-88 season, the USBWA has named a women’s National Player of the Year. For the 2012-13 season, the national and weekly player award has been named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale. At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for the award, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA. The winner of the 2018 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWA’s annual awards event in Columbus, Ohio, site of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected a women's All-America team since the 1996-97 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

2017-18 USBWA Women's National Players of the Week
Week ending Dec. 3: Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon (National); Satou Sabally, Oregon (Freshman)
Week ending Dec. 10: Jaime Nared, Tennessee (National); Braxtin Miller, Oklahoma State (Freshman)
Week ending Dec. 17: Kitija Laksa, South Florida (National); Raneem Elgedawy, Western Kentucky (Freshman)
Week ending Dec. 24: Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State (National); Kianni Smith, California (Freshman)
Week ending Dec. 31: Megan Gustafson, Iowa (National); Eleah Parker, Penn (Freshman)
Week ending Jan. 7: Lashann Higgs, Texas (National); Bre Cavanaugh, Fordham (Freshman)