Boston named SEC Freshman, Defensive Player of the Year by league coaches
Four Gamecocks named to All-SEC teams, Staley named SEC Coach of the Year
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - It’s been a good year for Aliyah Boston and the top-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.
Boston has been the talk of the conference with her play on both sides of the court. On Tuesday, Boston was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Boston, who is also a first-team All-SEC selection, ended the regular season with 12 double-doubles while averaging 12.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Boston ended the regular season tied with senior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan as the team’s leading scorer.
Defensively, Boston proved to be a force. She averaged 2.6 blocks per game, which puts her among the top 20 in the category.
The last South Carolina player to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award was A’ja Wilson back in 2018. Wilson was also the last Gamecock to win the SEC Freshman of the Year. She also becomes the program’s third player to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award and the program’s third player to win the Freshman of the Year Award.
While Boston hauled in two very prestigious league awards, she wasn’t the only Gamecock to be recognized.
Tyasha Harris was also named to the All-SEC first team for her efforts. The senior was fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 12 points per game. She also averaged 5.6 assists per game, which puts her among the top 20 in the nation in that category.
Boston and Harris have each been named Naismith Trophy semifinalists this year. The award is handed out to the country’s top college basketball player.
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan was named to the All-SEC second team. The senior forward shot 44% from 3-point range while knocking down just over 50% percent of her shots from the floor and 81% of her free throws this year.
Freshman guard Zia Cooke joins Boston on the conference’s All-Freshman team. Cooke ended the regular season third on the team in scoring with 12.4 points, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. She led the team or tied for the lead in scoring a team-high 11 times. She also scored 20 or more points in a game five times, which is also a team high.
Last but not least, head coach Dawn Staley was named the conference’s coach of the year. Staley guided the Gamecocks to a 29-1 record and a perfect 16-0 mark in SEC play, which has only been done four times in conference history. The year also saw the team set a new record for most consecutive wins with 23.
South Carolina will begin play in the SEC Tournament on Friday at noon.
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