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Jan. 2, 2008
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Junior guard Ebony Johnson (Columbia, S.C./Ridgeview) picked up the USC Upstate women's basketball team's first Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week award thanks to a 12-point, 20-rebound game against Bethune-Cookman on New Year's Eve, the conference office announced on Wednesday afternoon. Johnson shared the weekly award with Kennesaw State's Brittany Henderson, who posted back-to-back double-doubles in the Owls' two games at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center Holiday Tournament.
The award is the Spartans' first women's basketball player of the week award in the Division I era, after moving to Division I and the Atlantic Sun Conference beginning in the 2007-08 academic year.
The 5-7 Johnson became just the fifth player in school history to record a 20-rebound game and the first in the Division I era. The last time a USC Upstate player recorded 20 rebounds in a game was nearly 10 years ago, when Tammy Smith recorded 21 against Georgia College & State University on Jan. 10, 1998. The huge performance couldn't have come at a better time for Upstate, who is without their top rebounder, freshman Oceana Jackson (Carnesville, Ga./Franklin County) for the rest of the season after she tore her ACL in practice. Johnson is the smallest player in school history to ever post a 20-rebound game.
Made even more impressive, the 5-7 guard's rebounding average jumped from 6.1 (10th in the conference) to 7.7 (fifth in the conference) per game. The Columbia, S.C. native started and finished a key 15-2 run in the second half with layups, as the run helped the Spartans overcome a seven-point deficit to take a six-point lead.
As if the 20 rebounds in one game weren't enough, junior Ebony Johnson also became the 35th player in school history to reach 250 career boards with her final rebound of the game. She also added a season-high three blocks and added three assists and two steals in the game.
Upstate will get back on the road on Thursday when it travels to the Big South's Radford for a 7 p.m. tilt.