Naismith Sweep Among National Honors for Boston, Staley
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. - For the first time since expanding to three awards in 2018, one women’s basketball team has swept all three Naismith awards, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced at a press conference on Wednesday. South Carolina junior Aliyah Boston claimed the Naismith Trophy for Player of the Year in addition to being named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, while Dawn Staley earned Naismith Coach of the Year honors for the second time in the last three seasons.
Staley also picked up Coach of the Year honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association earlier in the day. Boston capped the night being named one of five finalists for the Wooden Award.
Boston has been headlining the national player of the year discussion all season long as her 28 double-doubles included an SEC-record 27-game streak that included 10 games against nationally-ranked opponents. Her career-best season averages of 16.8 points and 12.2 rebounds tell only half the story for the 2022 SEC Player of the Year and three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Ranked 14th in the nation in blocks per game (2.5) and with a career-high 45 steals - best on the team - the agile 6-foot-5 forward is an impact player on both ends of the floor. Boston is the only player in the country ranked in the top 20 of both offensive and defensive win shares. Shooting an SEC-best 54.2 percent from the field, she has eight 20-point games this season, including three against top-25 opponents. In 12 games against ranked teams this season, Boston averages 18.3 points and 13.4 rebounds.
Claiming National Coach of the Year honors for the second time in three seasons, Staley has led the Gamecocks back to the Final Four for the second-straight season and the fourth time in the last seven NCAA Tournaments. South Carolina was ranked No. 1 in every AP Poll this season with a 33-2 record going into the final weekend of play. Staley guided the Gamecocks to their sixth SEC regular-season title in the last nine years and their fourth undefeated home record, which included wins over six ranked opponents - two of which were in the top 10. South Carolina has dominated with defense, ranking third in the nation in scoring defense by allowing just 50.5 points per game. The Gamecocks lead the nation in scoring margin (+20.6), rebounding margin (+17.9) and blocks per game (7.6).
In her second season as a finalist for the Wooden Award, Boston joins other finalists Caitlin Clark (Iowa), Naz Hillmon (Michigan), Rhyne Howard (Kentucky) and NaLyssa Smith (Baylor).
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