UMHB's Johnson, William Peace's Ellison are USBWA Division III National Players of the Week

INDIANAPOLIS (UBSWA) – Josiah Johnson of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Belton, Texas) and Tanaesha Ellison of William Peace University (Raleigh, N.C.) were named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division III National Players of the Week for the period ending February 11.

Johnson, a 6-1 senior guard from Big Sandy, Texas, helped lead Mary Hardin-Baylor to a pair of road wins while becoming the American Southwest Conference's (ASC) all–time scoring leader. In a 99-87 win at UT-Dallas on Thursday, Johnson scored 35 points (11-of-20 FG, 8-of-9 FT, 5-of-8 3FG) and added nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Then, at University of the Ozarks on Saturday, he converted two free throws with three seconds left to give the Crusaders the final two points in a 105-103 overtime victory. Johnson finished with 30 points (6-of-20 FG, 14-or-14 FT, 4-of-11 3FG), nine rebounds, five assists, one steal, and two blocks. For the week, he averaged 32.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals, and 2.0 blocks while shooting 42.5 percent (17-of-40) from the field, 95.7 percent (22-of-23) from the foul line and 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from behind the arc. Johnson is the current leader among all active Division III players with 2,394 career points and is tenth in scoring average this season (22.1 ppg). For his efforts last week, Johnson was also named the ASC Player of the Week.

Ellison, a 5-7 junior forward from Asheboro, N.C., posted a pair of double-doubles in leading William Peace to a 2-0 week. On Tuesday against Meredith, she scored 32 points (12-of-26 FG, 5-of-8 FT, 3-of-4 3FG), including the 1,000th of her career, in the Pacers’ 68-49 victory. Ellison added 14 rebounds, four assists and nine steals, just falling short of a triple-double. Then, in an 87-84 win at Salem on Saturday, she finished with 38 points (14-of-26 FG, 8-of-12 FT, 2-of-4 3FG), 12 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and a block. For the week, Ellison averaged 35.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 6.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks while shooting 50.0 percent (26-of-32) from the field, 65.0 percent (13-of-20) from the foul line, and 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from three-point range. For her efforts, Ellison, who is currently fifth in scoring in NCAA Division III (24.8 ppg), was also selected as the USA South Athletic Conference Player of the Week.

Each Tuesday, the USBWA is selecting men's and women's Division III National Players of the Week. This is the ninth season that the USBWA will recognize national players of the week from Division III.

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 an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

2023-24 USBWA Division III National Players of the Week
• Week ending Dec. 3: Jeff Hunter, Keene State; Natalie Anderson, Trinity (Texas)
• Week ending Dec. 10: Jordan Oates, Salisbury; Lauren Klieber, Neumann
• Week ending Dec. 17: Bryant Smith, Manchester; Mary Schleusner, Washington and Lee 
• Week ending Dec. 31: Davidson Hubbard, Hampden-Sydney; Brianna Fitzgerald, SUNY-New Paltz
• Week ending Jan. 7: Khai Seargeant, Virginia Wesleyan; Mary Schleusner, Washington and Lee
• Week ending Jan. 14: Calvin Williams IV, St. Thomas; Arieona Rosborough, Mary Hardin-Baylor
• Week ending Jan. 21: Jalen Overway, Calvin; Caitlyn Scott, Albertus Magnus
• Week ending Jan. 28: Josh Van Gorp, Central College; Lauryn Milne, Wisconsin-La Crosse
• Week ending Feb. 4: Jaquan Adams, Principia; Brianna Fitzgerald, SUNY New Paltz
• Week ending Feb. 11: Josiah Johnson, Mary Hardin-Baylor; Tanaesha Ellison, William Peace