Boston, Cooke on USBWA Player of the Year Watch list
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) –Reigning National Champion South Carolina seniors Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke are among the 21 players named to the midseason watch list of the USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale Player of the Year Award. Boston claimed the honor last season, during which she swept the national player of the year awards.
Boston’s presence on the court has garnered so much attention from opponents – always playing against a double-team and often a triple-team – that her overall scoring and rebounding numbers are down from her 2022 National Player of the Year campaign, but her impact on the Gamecocks’ success has grown. Despite the defensive schemes, she is second in the SEC in rebounds per game (9.31) and second in the league (eight in the nation) with nine double-doubles. Her 1.81 blocked shots per game are third in the SEC and 36th in the nation, helping her rank fourth in the country in defensive win shares (2.5). Many of Boston’s career numbers are unmatched among active NCAA players as she leads the group in career double-doubles with 69, which is three off the Gamecocks’ career record originally set in 1982, and career rebounds (1,278). In 45 career games against ranked opponents, her averages rise to 15.2 points and 12.3 rebounds.
Cooke has burnished her reputation as an explosive scorer with her team-high 15.0 points per game this season ranking 10th in the SEC, and her 17.8 points per league game is sixth-best. She has netted double-figure points in every game in which she has played more than 15 minutes, including a 31-point outing at Georgia (Jan. 2) and a 20-point effort against Liberty (Dec. 11). She is shooting a career-high 40.5 percent from the field, including 36.9 percent from 3-point range. Cooke is also third on the team in assists, handing out 2.1 per game, and with her scoring combined with points off her assists, she has her hands on 24.4 percent of the Gamecocks’ total offense. Her competitive fire channels to the defensive end as well with a team-high 18 steals.
The winner of the 2022-23 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award will be announced at the Final Four in Dallas and formally recognized at the USBWA’s College Basketball Awards on Mon., April 10, at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
No. 1/1 South Carolina continues a two-game road stretch on Thursday, traveling to SEC-rival Kentucky for a 7 p.m. tipoff on SEC Network+.
Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for more information on the 2022-23 season ahead.
2022-23 Ann Meyers Drysdale Player of the Year Midseason Watch List
Aliyah Boston, Sr., F, South Carolina
Cameron Brink, Jr., F, Stanford
Caitlin Clark, Jr., G, Iowa
Zia Cooke, Sr., G., South Carolina
Monika Czinano, 5th-Yr., F/C, Iowa
Aaliyah Edwards, Jr., F, UConn
Dulcy Fankam Mendijadeu, South Florida
Azzi Fudd, So., G, UConn
Mackenzie Holmes, Sr., F, Indiana
Haley Jones, Sr., G, Stanford
Elizabeth Kitley, Sr., C, Virginia Tech
Ta’Niya Latson, Fr., G, Florida State
Olivia Miles, So., G, Notre Dame
Diamond Miller, Sr., G, Maryland
Aneesah Morrow, So., F, DePaul
Nika Muhl, Jr., G, UConn
Charisma Osborne, Sr., G, UCLA
Alissa Pili, Jr., F, Utah
Angel Reese, So., F, LSU
Maddy Siegrist, Sr., F, Villanova
Keishana Washington, Gr., G, Washington