Boston named finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year

Boston named finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year
Aliyah Boston scored 26 points and added 16 rebounds as South Carolina beat Arkansas. (Source: South Carolina Athletics)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina women’s basketball sophomore forward Aliyah Boston is one of four finalists for the 2021 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. She is the only player to be named a finalist for both this award and the Naismith Trophy.

A First-Team All-America selection by both the Associated Press and ESPN.com, Boston was the SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year and an All-SEC First-Team selection for the second time. She is on the Wooden Award National Ballot and the Lisa Leslie Award Top 5.

Boston has been the anchor for the Gamecocks all season and continues to step up her game. Her 19.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game in the SEC Tournament led South Carolina to its second-straight title and sixth in the last seven seasons. She recorded a double-double in each game and was named SEC Tournament MVP in the process.

Boston’s 16 double-doubles, including five in the last five games, rank sixth in the country and include eight against nationally ranked opponents. She is 16th in the country in blocks per game (2.7), 11th in rebounds per game (11.9) and 17th in offensive rebounds per game (4.1).

On the season, Boston averages 13.9 points and 11.9 rebounds. Her output increases against ranked opponents to 14.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. She has eight games of four or more blocked shots, including the program’s first triple-double against an SEC opponent and first against a ranked opponent (vs. Georgia, Jan. 21).

The other three finalists for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year are Veronica Burton (Northwestern), Natasha Mack (Oklahoma State) and Aari McDonald (Arizona).

The No. 1 seed in the Hemisfair Region of the NCAA Tournament, No. 6/5 South Carolina advanced to the second round with a 79-53 win over Mercer on Sunday night. The Gamecocks will take on eighth-seeded Oregon State on Tue., Mar. 23, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Copyright 2021 WIS. All rights reserved.