Drexel's Washington, Santa Clara's Heal are USBWA women's national players of the week

Drexel’s Keishana Washington averaged 37 ppg last week.
Drexel’s Keishana Washington averaged 37 ppg last week.
Santa Clara’s Tess Heal averaged 18.5 points and 5.0 assists in two games last week.
Santa Clara’s Tess Heal averaged 18.5 points and 5.0 assists in two games last week.

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) -- For the season’s second weekly women’s awards from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for games ending Sunday, Dec. 18, Drexel graduate guard Keishana Washington is the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week, Santa Clara guard Tess Heal is the Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Week  and St. John’s is the National Team of the Week.

The awards, organized under Mel Greenberg, the USBWA Vice President for women’s basketball, are drawn from the weekly conference citations as well as at-large additions. Each week awards go to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Women’s national player, the organization’s Tamika Catchings freshman player, and the USBWA’s women’s team of the week.
Washington, a 5-7 graduate guard from Pickering, Ont., in a 2-0 week for Drexel averaged 37.0 points on a 56.5 percent shooting percentage from the field and dealt 4.5 assists per game. She scored 32 points in a 64-49 win at Dartmouth earlier in the week, becoming the first Dragon to collect five 30-plus points games before the calendar turns to January. Washington quickly eclipsed that stat and more on Sunday in a comeback 86-82 overtime triumph against visiting Penn State, scoring a career-high 42 points, all coming in regulation for a program single-game record. It was her third straight 30-point game. Both the Colonial Athletic Association preseason player of the year and conference player of the week, she moved to the top of the NCAA scoring list (29.5) on Monday.

Heal, a 5-10 guard from Melbourne, Australia, averaged 18.5 points and 5.0 assists, In a 1-1 week for Santa Clara, the home loss coming at the last second in a West Coast Conference opener. She is averaging team bests 15.9 points per game and 4.0 assists.

St. John’s  is off to an 11-0 start, including a recent upset of nationally-ranked Creighton, matching the program record set by the 2004-05 contingent and on Monday the Red Storm were voted No. 25 in the Associated Press women’s poll, their first ranking since 2015.

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 became named for Hall of Famer and former UCLA All-American Ann Meyers Drysdale while the national and weekly freshman award is being given in the name of former Tennessee all-American Tamika Catchings, which was applied at the start of the 2019-20 season.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the USBWA will name finalists for both individual awards, which is voted on by the entire membership of the USBWA.
The winners of the 2023 Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year and Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Year will be announced and presented at the USBWA’s annual awards event on site at the 2023 NCAA Women's Final Four in Dallas.

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 Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.