Millikin’s Elyce Knudsen continues postseason honors with prestigious Jostens Trophy

The award goes to the top women’s basketball player in NCAA Division III

Elyce Knudsen

DECATUR, Illinois – Millikin University junior guard Elyce Knudsen added a prestigious national honor to cap off her remarkable 2022-23 season when she won the Jostens Trophy, which honors the top men’s and women’s basketball players in NCAA Division III on March 23. 

Knudsen (Philo, Tolono Unity H.S.) became the first Millikin basketball player to win the award since it began in 1998. The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) swept this year's awards as Tyson Cruickshank of Wheaton College won the men's award. 

The Jostens Trophy honors are national awards created by the Rotary Club of Salem and sponsored by Jostens, Inc., to recognize the most outstanding men's and women's Division III basketball players of the year. The awards focus on three primary criteria: basketball ability, academic prowess and service to one's surrounding communities. 

Knudsen will be presented with the Jostens Trophy on Saturday, April 22, between Millikin Softball's doubleheader games against Blackburn College at the Workman Family Softball Field. Saturday's first game begins at 1 p.m. 

The Jostens Trophy models the Rotary International motto of "Service Above Self" by recognizing those who truly fit the ideal of a well-rounded Division III student-athlete. The 2023 season marks the 25th time the Jostens Trophy honors have been awarded.

"Elyce exemplifies what the Jostens Award is truly about," said Millikin Head Women's Basketball Coach Olivia Lett. "She accomplishes everything on the basketball court because of who she is as a person off the court. Her motivation to impact and lead her teammates, friends, family and those in her community is obvious. Elyce is already cementing herself as one of the best to play Division III basketball, but her legacy to those around her will be defined by her work ethic and selflessness."Mi

Elyce Knusdsen
Millikin's Elyce Knudsen (22) averaged 22.3 points per game in 2022-23, ranking her second in the country in total points with 647 and sixth in scoring average.

The Jostens Trophy is the latest award for Knudsen. Last week, she was named to the College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-America® First Team, recognizing student-athletes for their athletic and academic excellence. She was also selected to 2023 WBCA NCAA Division III Coaches' All-America team, announced by the Women's Basketball Coaches  Association (WBCA).

Earlier this month, Knudsen was named the Region 8 Player of the Year and named to the All-Region First Team. Knudsen was the CCIW Lori Kerans Student-Athlete of the Year and a unanimous CCIW First Team selection for the second straight season. She averaged 22.3 points per game in 2022-23, ranking her second in the country in total points with 647 and sixth in scoring average. She averaged 4.8 rebounds with 78 assists, 68 steals and 19 blocks.

Knudsen is a team leader on and off the court. She has a 3.91 grade point average and is majoring in Finance. Along with teammate Bailey Coffman, Knudsen founded a reading club at local Decatur-area public schools called "Book-it," which creates opportunities for Millikin student-athletes to go into schools two times each month to read to students and answer questions.

Knudsen also volunteers at Macon Resources, Inc., working with special needs children and adults. She served as the lead clinician at the Millikin Women's Basketball Camp and Decatur Park District Camp this past summer and trains youth basketball players in Central Illinois.