ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda of Emmanuel College (Boston, Mass.) and Luke Smith of Sewanee: University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.) were named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Division III National Players of the Week for the week ending February 24. This marks the second time this season that Ramirez-Tejeda earns the honor and the third time a GNAC student-athlete was recognized by the USBWA as Albertus Magnus's Rah Rah Thompson earned the honor last week.
Ramirez-Tejeda, a 5-7 junior guard from Cambridge, Mass., posted three double-doubles in leading Emmanuel (23-5) to three wins and the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament Championship and automatic NCAA Division III Tournament bid. On Tuesday, Ramirez-Tejeda scored 19 points and added 12 rebounds, four steals, two assists, and a block as the Saints defeated Colby-Sawyer 61-39. On Thursday, in a 78-72 overtime victory against Albertus Magnus, she played all 45 minutes and totaled 26 points, 14 rebounds, four steals, and two assists. In Saturday's championship game against previously-unbeaten, top-seeded and then-No. 8 ranked (D3hoops.com) St. Joseph's (Maine), Ramirez-Tejeda again played the entire game and scored 24 points (including the 1,000th of her career), while also grabbing 11 rebounds and adding an assist. For the week, she averaged 23.0 ppg, 12.3 rpg, 2.6 spg, 1.6 apg, and 0.3 bpg while shooting 55.3 percent (31-of-56) from the field and 43.7 percent (7-of-16) from the foul line. For her efforts, Ramirez-Tejeda was also named the GNAC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
For the season, Ramirez-Tejeda has scored 589 points, a new Emmanuel single-season record and her 311 rebounds this year also set a single-season record at the school. In 55 career games, she reached the 1,000-point career milestone faster than any player in school history. She was also the season's first USBWA Division III National Player of the Week (11/18/18).
Smith, a 6-0 sophomore guard from Knoxville, Tenn., helped lead Sewanee: University of the South (22-6, 8-6) to the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Tournament Championship and automatic NCAA Division III Tournament bid with victories on three consecutive days. Smith scored 27 points and added three rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block in the Tigers' 82-64 victory over Hendrix on Friday. On Saturday, he played all 40 minutes and scored a career-high 40 points in his team's 70-63 win over Berry. Smith also totaled eight rebounds, two assists and a steal in the contest. Then, in the championship game against No. 1 seed Centre, he recorded 23 points, three rebounds, five assists (including on the game-winning three-pointer with 2.2 seconds left), and two steals as the Tigers posted a 62-59 victory. For the week, Smith averaged 30.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.0 spg, and 0.3 bpg. He shot 66.7 percent (28-of-42) from the field, 75.0 percent (18-of-24) from three-point range and 88.9 percent (16-of-18) from the foul line. For his efforts, Smith was named the SAA Tournament Most Valuable Player as the Tigers return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.
Each Tuesday, the USBWA has selected men's and women's Division III National Players of the Week. This is the fourth season that the USBWA has recognized national players of the week from Division III. This week's selections serve as the final weekly honors of the season.
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 Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
2018-19 USBWA Division III National Players of the Week
• Week ending Nov. 18: Keith Brown, Endicott College and Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda, Emmanuel College
• Week ending Nov. 25: Demitrius Underwood, University of Texas at Dallas and Allison Chernow, Emory University
• Week ending Dec. 2: Kevin Dennis, Morrisville State College and Hannah Norlin, University of Wisconsin-Superior
• Week ending Dec. 9: Sean Smith, Jr., Manhattanville College and Madison Temple, Thomas More University
• Week ending Dec. 16: Auston Francis, Wheaton College (Ill.) and Madison Temple, Thomas More University
• Week ending Jan. 6: Will Carius, Monmouth College (Ill.) and Maddie Hasson, Bowdoin College
• Week ending Jan. 13: Elijah Hirsh, Berry College and Katie Garrish, Southern Virginia University
• Week ending Jan. 20: Hakeem Animashaun, Salem State University; Kierra McCarthy, Westfield State University
• Week ending Jan. 27: Sam Jefferson, Colby College; Caitlin Corbett, Hartwick College
• Week ending Feb. 3: Andrew Romero III, Johnson & Wales University; Rebecca Prociak, King's College
• Week ending Feb. 10: Aston Francis, Wheaton College (Ill.); Rachael Windhausen, Oswego State University
• Week ending Feb. 17: Kevin Dennis, Morrisville State College; Rah Rah Thompson, Albertus Magnus College
• Week ending Feb. 24: Luke Smith, Sewanee; Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda, Emmanuel College
*Release courtesy of the USBWA Communications Office