Skip to main content

For the three weeks in December that Canadian Keishana Washington led the NCAA in scoring, the congratulatory messages poured in.

To the point it became overwhelming.

“It was a lot of messages from family, close friends, a lot of people reaching out to me on social media accounts, some people that were at the game, fans, agents I had a lot of people blowing me up,” Washington said. “I had to put my phone on do not disturb for a little while, just so I could take a second to breathe. It was definitely surreal.”

The Pickering, Ont., native and 5-foot-7 guard for Drexel’s women’s basketball team, topped Division 1 with 29.5 points a game – she’s believed to be the first Canadian woman to do so.

The highlight was an 86-82 overtime victory against Penn State on Dec. 18. Washington scored 42 points in regulation, a career high and a school record for points scored in regulation.

“Just to get a win over a Power Five school that people didn’t think we could necessarily compete with, that’s a great feeling,” Washington said.

The fifth-year senior wasn’t paying attention in the moment to how her points were piling up. The celebration came later.

“We were more concerned about the win, but after the fact it was [my teammates] being really excited and cheering, and going crazy in the locker-room,” Washington said.

Washington, who’s dropped to No. 2 in scoring with 26.9 points behind Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist (28.9), was named to the Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Midseason Watch List on Wednesday. She was named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Watch List last week, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Washington has posted 20 or more points in 13 of 17 games, and scored 30-plus points in seven in leading Drexel to a 13-4 record. She recorded her first career double-double with 33 points and 10 assists against Lehigh on Nov. 22.

The Drexel Dragons played in the NCAA tournament in 2021, and were eliminated in the first round, and Washington would love to help them get there again in her final season. Drexel was picked No. 1 in pre-season conference polls, while Washington was picked as the pre-season Colonial Athletic Association conference player of the year.

Her coach Amy Mallon said the Canadian is the type of leader who can take them to the top this season.

“Keishana represents the type of success we have achieved,” Mallon told reporters when this season tipped off. “She is a very talented player, and that goes with her work ethic. I’ve seen her grow from someone who didn’t always have the courage to take those big shots to where now, in those big moments, she wants the ball in her hands.”

Washington said she’s proud of how she’s emerged from her shell at Drexel.

“I was definitely a very shy, reserved, quiet person, probably up until the last two or three years,” she said. “I think that just comes with being more confident, growing off the court as well as on the court, becoming a leader for my team. And, being able to, like I said, just be confident in myself, my abilities and the person that I’ve become, and will continue to keep growing.”

Washington’s parents are Guyanese, and both were track and field athletes there. She wasn’t particularly fast as a kid, but worked with her dad on agility and quickness.

“I think just working on the speed throughout the years, kind of just figuring it out and then being able to use that to my advantage has definitely been a huge part of my game, just being able to out-speed people,” she said.

Washington, who’s completing her masters in psychology, would love to take her game to the next level after graduation, in either the WNBA or in Europe. She’d also love to suit up again for Canada’s national team. She helped Canada to a silver medal at the under-18 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City in 2018, averaging seven points per game.

She’s turned down subsequent invitations to national team camps to focus on Drexel.

She said she’ll need to get stronger if she wants to keep playing.

“The next level is a lot more physical than college, so I think really tuning into the weight room aspect of things so that I’m not being bumped around as much at the next level,” Washington said. “That’s definitely a focus for me and then I think just being more consistent at shooting the three that’s also something that I’m working on currently.”

Drexel next plays at Towson on Sunday.