MINNEAPOLIS – Aliyah Boston dominated women's college basketball on both ends of the court this season.
The junior forward helped South Carolina go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, putting up an SEC-record 27 consecutive double-doubles, and she has helped put the Gamecocks two wins away from the program's second national championship.
Boston was honored as The Associated Press women's basketball player of the year on Thursday. She is the second player from South Carolina to be recognized with the award, joining former Gamecocks great A'ja Wilson.
“Not often do you get the complete package. I think this recognition is for what she was able to do on both sides of the ball,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “The player of the year is usually for offensive-minded people who think that when you put the ball in the hole, you should be bestowed the player of the year. She’s the full package. Every single day.”
Boston's parents and aunt as well as the entire South Carolina team were in the audience of the ceremony that also honored AP Coach of the Year Kim Mulkey.
“Coming into this year I said in the back of my mind I wanted to change the narrative this year about women's basketball," Boston said. "To get this award means a lot and I can't wait to do more in the future.”
Boston received 23 votes from the 30-member national media panel that votes weekly for the AP Top 25. Iowa's Caitlin Clark received six votes and Baylor's NaLyssa Smith got one.
Boston averaged 16.8 points, 12 rebounds and 2.6 blocks this year.
“I think Aliyah is so unselfish that she’s not very comfortable taking over basketball games,” Staley said. “She doesn’t want to be seen by her teammates as selfish and chasing numbers."
“I'm in shock, I got the chills,” Boston said to her parents on the call.
Staley said that Boston is one of the hardest workers on the team.
“Young people will follow anyone, good or bad,” the coach said. “Aliyah has tbe personality where you’d follow her because of how hard she works, how unselfish she is, how giving she is. When it’s time to make plays she delivers. She’s a leader to follow for all the right reasons.”
More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25