Boston adds WBCA Freshman of the Year honors
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball forward Aliyah Boston collected another national recognition when the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) named her its 2020 NCAA Div. I Freshman of the Year presented by adidas today. The addition of the WBCA made Boston the unanimous winner of the title this season as the Associated Press and USBWA also bestowed it upon her in recent weeks.
“Energy, enthusiasm and effort – these are qualities every coach hopes their first-year players will bring to the team,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle M. Donehew. “The WBCA and adidas are pleased to recognize the important contribution of first-year student-athletes and to present the WBCA NCAA Division I Freshman of the Year award to Aliyah Boston. Aliyah certainly contributed to South Carolina’s success, and we applaud the immediate impact on the court she made this season.”
Also a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and the Lisa Leslie Award, which will announce its winner next week, Boston was the SEC Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year and grabbed a spot on the All-SEC First Team. She joined South Carolina’s Alaina Coates as the only league Freshmen of the Year to also capture another of the league’s top individual awards. The 6-foot-5 forward was also a Second-Team All-America choice of the AP and the USBWA.
Boston announced herself on the national stage in her college debut, becoming the first in NCAA Div. I women’s basketball history to post a triple-double in her first career game. She went on to break four South Carolina freshman season records and four program freshman single-game records. Her 10 blocks in that season opener tied the overall Gamecock record and her 86 on the season were the fourth most by any Gamecock in program history.
A force on both ends of the floor in her first college season, Boston finished sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.608) and 21st in blocks per game (2.61). She was third in the SEC with 9.4 rebounds per game to go with her 12.5 points per game. She recorded 13 double-doubles, including seven in 14 games against ranked opponents. Boston’s game got bigger as the spotlight brightened, averaging 13.0 points and 10.9 rebounds against ranked opponents and 13.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in SEC play. Her plus/minus rating of +13.21 against ranked teams led the Gamecocks, just ahead of senior point guard Tyasha Harris’ +12.86.
Boston’s efforts helped the Gamecocks to 10 weeks at No. 1 in the AP Poll and the top spot in the final week of both polls for the first time in program history. South Carolina finished the season on a 26-game win streak, including a perfect 16-0 mark in league play to claim the SEC Regular-Season championship for the fifth time in seven seasons and three wins en route to the Gamecocks fifth SEC Tournament title in the last six seasons.