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Drexel's Washington surpasses 2,000 points as Dragons get back to winning

01/27/2023, 11:45pm EST
By Jared Leveson

Jared Leveson (@jared_leveson)

UNIVERSITY CITY — It didn’ take long for Keishana Washington to make history on Friday night. 

The fifth-year guard needed 11 points to reach the 2,000 point milestone, and hit her magic number with 26 seconds left in the first quarter. 

Washington came off Chloe Hodges’ screen at the elbow, providing the NCAA’s second-leading scorer ample space from the right wing. Washington received the pass from Maura Hendrixson and pulled up from three — splash. 

The crowd of around 600 people, including Washington’s parents, erupted as she jogged back on defense like she’d hit any other shot. Her biggest celebration was a little high-five with Hendrixson, aka ‘Furm,’ Washington’s teammate since the two arrived at Drexel five years ago.

“The first time we met was quite interesting,” Washington recalled with a smile. “I moved into my apartment and I was living with Furm. Her and Kate Connolly (were) sawing a stromboli that was frozen. I questioned (Hendrixson) a little bit there and I walked back to my room.

“But the next day we became really close and bonded over that simple moment and I think our relationship has grown since then, but that was our first encounter.”

“Yup,” Hendrixson added, laughing. “That was a great encounter.”

Keishana Washington (above) has 206 3-pointers in her Drexel career. (Photo: Dan Hilferty/CoBL)

It was only fitting that Drexel’s two fifth year stalwarts, Hendrixson and Washington, connected for that historic shot and played a critical role in securing their 69-57 win over Hofstra at the DAC on Friday night. 

“I knew how far (away) I was,” the 5-foot-7 Washington said. “Not that I was thinking about (2,000 points) during the game but I felt the energy in the gym after I made the shot. I looked up at the scoreboard (and knew) that I needed 11 points and I had 11 points.

“It was even better that (Hendrixson) gave me the ball on that play.” 

“I said to Keishana today in the shoot-around,” Hendrixson added. “Can I please assist your 2,000th point and she was like ‘yeah’ and then it actually happened.” 

“They are really a dynamic duo,” Drexel head coach Amy Mallon said.  

Washington finished the game with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting. The 2022-2023 CAA Preseason Player of the year also added three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Hendrixson tallied 11 assists. The Garnet Valley native’s sixth game with ten or more assists. 

Washington reached her 2,000th point with speed and ease. She went 4-for-7 in the first quarter, scoring from all three levels and the free-throw line. 

The three-time All-Philly honoree opened the scoring for Drexel, starting the game with her vaunted mid-range jumper. Washington went back to her signature shot a few possessions later with 6:54 left in the first quarter. 

She then drove toward the cup, initiated a step-back jumper, and got fouled. The Psychology masters student calmly sank both free throws. 

Washington then showcased her defensive prowess, picking a Hoftra guard’s pocket, zooming down the floor and finishing with a smooth finger roll. 

With only three-points needed at that point in the game, Mallon ran the Drexel offense as usual, not intending for Washington to hit a 3-pointer. But Washington gets buckets. She is averaging 26.9 ppg this season and shooting 45% from the field. 

So, when the ball finds her, she’s knocking the bottom out. 

Washington was all smiles after she realized she'd passed the 2,000-point barrier. (Photo: Dan Hilferty/CoBL)

“If you’re watching Keishana,” Drexel’s third-year head coach said, “a lot of what she gets is within a set or call, but she gets (the ball) within our motion. I think within that moment I knew she would probably get it. I think when we run certain sets you know she’s gonna get a pretty clean look.” 

“It makes me happy though that it was Hendrixson who made the pass to her. It's very fitting that those two in their fifth year together, (came) back, and (wanted) to do something special together this year.”

Drexel (14-5, 6-2) controlled the majority of the contest, leading 36-24 at the half-time break. However, Hofstra crawled its way back and trailed by seven points with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter.

The Pride’s full-court pressure rattled the Dragons and caused 11 turnovers in the second-half. 

But Washington’s play on both ends and her leadership through those tough stretches pushed the Dragon’s through to the final buzzer with the win. 

“I keep trying to remind everybody as much as we’re a team with experience, we have a lot of inexperience,” Mallon said. “We have a lot of freshmen that start for us (and) this is their first time through the conference. They don't know the teams as well as the older ones. I think we’re really gonna need (the freshman) to step up.

“I know Washington can do a lot on the floor but when she’s a vocal leader,” Mallon continued, “everyone follows her and you can see the level of play from us rise.” 

Washington scored nine points in the fourth quarter and put the game away when she scored on back-to-back possessions with Drexel up seven with 5:30 remaining. Her first basket came off a midrange turn-around from the baseline. Drexel’s defense allowed a 3-pointer to Hoftsra’s Rosi Nicholson (10 pts) right after. 

But Washington took command and made an aggressive move through the lane and finished through the foul. She could not complete the 3-point play. 

Drexel’s defense made up for the missed opportunity, holding Hofstra (8-11 ,2-6) to their worst team shooting performance (38.9%) of the game in the fourth quarter. 

Washington and the Dragons are in a three-way tie for second place in the CAA. (Photo: Dan Hilferty/CoBL)

Washington’s career point total now stands at 2,013 total points. Washington became the second Drexel player to score 2,000 points behind Gabriela Marginean (‘10) who scored 2,581 points. She also became the eighth Canadian player, ninth CAA player, and 12th active Division I player with 2,000 career points. It’s one of many accolades that she has collected throughout her time in University City. 

However, when Washington began playing competitive basketball at nine-years old she never thought her success would come this far. When she arrived at Drexel five-years ago and witnessed Hendrixson and Connolly failing at basic kitchen commonsense, she didn’t ever think that she would score 1,000 points, let alone 2,000. 

But when a player with an exceptional work ethic is surrounded by focused coaches and supportive teammates, history can happen. 

“The coaching staff that I have, the team that I have,” Washington said. “ (Has) the power to show you what you’re capable of doing. 

“I give the credit to them.”

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