Drafted first overall by the Indiana Fever in 2023, Aliyah Boston becomes the third South Carolina Gamecock in history to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award. Prior to the start of the season, Boston was the favored to win the award with +150 odds.
Aliyah Boston was a star at the University of South Carolina
Indiana Fever's Aliyah Boston was named the 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year this week. She is the first player to win the award unanimously since former South Carolina Gamecock A'ja Wilson, in 2018. A four-year collegiate player, Boston was a 4x All-SEC First Team, 4x SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and 2x National Player of the Year. Under head coach Dawn Staley, Boston helped South Carolina capture their first NCAA Championship since 2017. At South Carolina, she won the Honda Cup Collegiate Athlete of the Year and leads the University in several statistical categories.
Throughout her illustrious collegiate career, Boston is the leader in career rebounds (1,493), both offensive (518) and defensive (975). Additionally, she holds the record for the most triple-doubles (2), double-doubles (82), games started (138), and consecutive games started (138). In her four-years at South Carolina, the fellow Gamecock broke several records in the SEC. She also retains the record for the most rebounds in career NCAA Tournament games (199) and has the most offensive rebounds in NCAA Career Tournament games (70). No. 4 was named the 2022 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after defeating UConn 64-49 in the NCAA Women's Basketball National Championship Game. One of the greatest women to ever play at the collegiate level, Boston led the Gamecocks to a 129-9 record.
Aliyah becomes the third Gamecock to win the award, next to A'ja Wilson and Allisha Gray.
Boston was selected first overall by the Indiana Fever
the number one pick in the 2023 @WNBA Draft, high expectations followed Aliyah Boston the second she stepped foot in Indianapolis.— Indiana Fever (@IndianaFever) October 2, 2023
from day one, she delivered.
here are the moments that solidified Aliyah Boston as the 2023 @WNBA Rookie of the Year. pic.twitter.com/LhCeYNW9li
Aliyah Boston was the No. 1 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, selected by the Indiana Fever. Once Champions in 2012, the Fever haven't made a post season run since the 2016 season. In 2022, Indiana finished with a 5-31 win-loss record, and won the 2023 WNBA Draft Lottery. Next in line were the Minnesota Lynx, Atlanta Dream, and Washington Mystics. The selection of Aliyah Boston brought much anticipation and optimism to Indiana.
The Fever haven't had a sensational star since Tamika Catchings since her retirement in 2016. Indiana selected Aliyah Boston with high expectations that the franchise would get an immediate impact player. With that said, No. 4 certainly didn't' disappoint.
No. 4 was the favorite to win the 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year Award
More WBB progress -- this is the first time in any season I have ever seen odds for WNBA Rookie of the Year pic.twitter.com/t9dX0kvg1J— Calvin Wetzel (@cwetzel31) May 4, 2023
Prior to the start of the WNBA season in May, Aliyah Boston was favored to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year with +150 odds. Five South Carolina Gamecocks were selected on draft night, including No. 8 Laeticia Amihere, No. 10 Zia Cooke, No. 24 Brea Beal, and No. 25 Victoria Saxton.
South Carolina joins Notre Dame and Tennessee as the only three programs to have five picks selected in a draft night. She is the second player in Fever franchise history to win the award, next to Tamika Catchings.
Boston shines in her rookie season
There were high expectations for the forward heading into the 2023 season, and needless to say, she didn't disappoint. Through 40 games, Boston averaged 14.5 points per game, 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.3 steals. The Fever sensation shot 74.5 percent from the free-throw line, and 57.8 percent from the field. Boston finished No. 8, tied with Jonquel Jones for total rebounds. Offensively, she was no. 2 in the WNBA in rebounds, and was slightly outside the top ten in defensive boards. As a rookie, Boston was seventh in efficiency, and again was tied with Jones for blocks. No 4. lead the entire league in field goal percentage at 57.8 percent.
This season, Aliyah Boston led all rookies in field goal percentage, minutes, all defensive categories, steals, blocks, efficiency, and total points. Additionally, the rookie was first in field goals attempted and made, along with free-throw attempts and made.
Poised to be a bona fide star in the WNBA, Boston was selected to her first All-Star game, and become the sixth rookie in history to start. At the end of the season, Boston was named to the WNBA's all-rookie team, including Dorka Juhász Diamond Miller, Li Meng, and Jordan Horston. Standing at 6 foot 5, 220 pounds, she has the size and strength to be dominate continuously. Not one rookie came close to competing with Boston statistically and through playstyle. Although the Indiana Fever finished 13-26, sixth in the Eastern Conference, Boston continued to have a historical rookie season. She was named Rookie of the Month three times and was named Player of the Week in June.
The future is bright for the Indiana Fever
The Fever may have had another losing season; however, they hold a top lottery pick in the 2024 WNBA draft. The extraordinary level of talent, which includes Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers, Cameron Brink, and Angel Reese brings a level of excitement to the league. In addition to the top four, there is an array of talent through twelve draft slots. Boston is the first rookie in history to have over 500 points and 300 rebounds. She received 60 unanimous votes, all from national broadcasters and writers.
"It is so special, and it is really a blessing to have won Rookie of the Year," said Boston in a clip featured on twitter. It is one of the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the season, and to be able to accomplish it with God's help was amazing. [I am] So thankful for my teammates, because they are really able to put me in the position. Thank you to my coaches because they motivate me, but this is honestly such a blessing. I'm super excited."
Tamika Catchings has passed the torch on to Aliyah Boston, who will continue to thrive and grow in the WNBA. She is just the fifth player in history to win the award unanimously.
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Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter at Ballislife, and a Sports Content Creator on Twitch and TikTok. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.Tweets by BallislifeBets