Aliyah Boston
Boston with the Indiana Fever in 2023
No. 7 – Indiana Fever
PositionPower forward / center
LeagueWNBA
Personal information
Born (2001-12-11) December 11, 2001 (age 22)
Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High schoolWorcester Academy
(Worcester, Massachusetts)
CollegeSouth Carolina (2019–2023)
WNBA draft2023: 1st round, 1st overall pick
Selected by the Indiana Fever
Playing career2023–present
Career history
2023–presentIndiana Fever
Career highlights and awards
Medals
Women's basketball
Representing the  United States
FIBA AmeriCup
Gold medal – first place 2021 San Juan Team
FIBA U19 Women's World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2019 Thailand Team
FIBA U17 Women's World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2018 Belarus Team
FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women
Gold medal – first place 2017 Argentina Team
Women's 3x3 basketball
Representing the  United States
Youth Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2018 Argentina Team

Aliyah Boston (born December 11, 2001) is an American professional basketball player for the Indiana Fever of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She plays the power forward and center positions. She was named 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year in a unanimous vote and the AP Rookie of the Year. She played college basketball at the University of South Carolina.

Born in Saint Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, Boston attended Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she was a McDonald's All-American and a three-time Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year.[1] Boston has won several gold medals representing the United States.

Boston led South Carolina to their second national championship in school history in 2022 and was named the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player (MOP). That year, she also won Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. Boston won the Lisa Leslie Award as the best center in NCAA women's basketball in four consecutive years.

On April 1, 2023, Boston declared for the 2023 WNBA draft. Boston chose to forgo her extra year of eligibility granted to college athletes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.[2] She ended her four year collegiate career with a record of 129 wins and 9 losses.[3] Boston was the first overall pick in the WNBA draft on April 10, 2023, selected by the Indiana Fever.[4]

Early life

Boston was born on December 11, 2001, to parents Cleone and Al in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Boston fell in love with basketball at age 9 watching her older sister Alexis play. At age 12, Aliyah and Alexis moved from their home in the Virgin Islands, to New England to live with their aunt, Jenaire Hodge, and her cousin, Kira Punter. Boston would only see her parents a few times over the following years, mostly to watch Aliyah's AAU basketball games.[5][6]

"When I first started playing, it was kind of just for fun, but then I realized how much you could get out of playing. So we've all had faith in God that I could; my goal is to go to college with a scholarship. God has helped us with that".

— Aliyah Boston[5]

High school career

Boston attended Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts, winning Gatorade Massachusetts Player of the Year honors in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Boston led her team to a to 24-1 record and a second straight New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class A championship in 2019. That year, she was a consensus All-American, averaging 17.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. Boston was selected to play in the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic in 2019.[7]

A five-star recruit, Boston was ranked third in the ESPN HoopGurlz 2019 class.[8] Boston committed to Dawn Staley and the South Carolina Gamecocks over UConn, Ohio State, and Notre Dame, giving the Gamecocks the consensus number one recruiting class for 2019.[9]

College career

Freshman season

See also: 2019–20 South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team

Boston with South Carolina in 2020

In her first game at the University of South Carolina on November 5, 2019, Boston posted the first triple-double by a freshman in program history and the first by any NCAA Division I player in her career debut against Alabama State, including a school-record tying 10 blocks.[10] Boston helped lead the Gamecocks to a big early season road win at No. 4 Maryland scoring eight of the team's first 10 points and blocking five shots in the opening quarter. In the Paradise Jam, Boston won Reef division MVP after she had 20 points, and 13 rebounds in a win against No. 2 Baylor clinching the tournament championship. On January 20, Boston notched her eighth double-double of the season finishing with 12 rebounds, and 21 points in a win over No. 9 Mississippi State. Boston played a huge role in the No. 1 Gamecocks first ever victory over the UConn Huskies on February 10, capturing her tenth double double of the year.[7]

Against LSU, Boston blocked five shots to become the program's all-time freshman blocks leader in a win. Boston would finish the SEC regular season Averaging a double-double against SEC competition (13.1 ppg/10.3 rpg) as the No. 1 Gamecocks (32-1) swept the SEC regular season and tournament championships.[7]

Boston was named consensus Freshman of the year, and was Part of first team in Gamecock history to end the season ranked No. 1 in the nation, claiming that spot in both the AP and the USA Today Coaches' Poll, before the Tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.[7]

Sophomore season

See also: 2020–21 South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team

Boston started off the season hot against 23rd ranked Iowa State, recording five of the team's first 10 points which included a 3 pointer, she then scored four of her season high 13 points off offensive rebounds. Against Florida, Boston continued to show her all around game when she hit three 3's and recorded 28 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Scoring 19 points, and 11 rebounds in the first half and became the 11th fastest Gamecock to score 500 points in her career. On January 10 in a win at 10th ranked Kentucky, Boston put up 20 points and 12 rebounds, scoring her fourth double double of the season and also included seven blocks, she would earn SEC co-player of the week honors. Boston helped secure a 104–82 win over 17th ranked Arkansas; she finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds. she scored six points, six rebounds and three blocks in the game's opening five minutes. On January 21 in a win vs. Georgia, Boston made history the program's first triple-double in SEC play finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocks. Against LSU, Boston notched her third straight double-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds. Facing a tough double team against Alabama, Boston remained poised and handed out a career high 6 assist to go with 13 rebounds. In a road game against UConn, Boston completed her eighth double-double on the season, pulling down 15 rebounds, including eight in the final 15 minutes.

Boston was crucial in the Gamecocks SEC Tournament Championship win, in the semifinals vs. Tennessee, Boston scored 15 points and 11 rebounds, and in the finals against Georgia scored 27 points, 10 rebounds. Boston was named SEC Tournament MVP, she recorded double doubles in all three of the Gamecocks games. In her NCAA Tournament debut against no. 16th seeded Mercer, she would notch a 20 point and 18 rebound game. In the elite eight against Texas, Boston scored six of her ten points the first quarter. Boston had 16 rebounds in the season ending loss against Stanford and missed a potential game winning lay-up at the buzzer as South Carolina lost 66-65. At the conclusion of the season, she was named Lisa Leslie award winner for the second straight year, was named consensus First Team All-American, and was named National Player of the year by The Athletic.[7]

Boston is also the first sophomore ever to be named by the College Sports Information Directors of America as its Academic All-American of the Year in D-I women's basketball, being so honored in 2021.[11]

Junior season

See also: 2021–22 South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team

On February 24 she broke the SEC record with her 20th consecutive double-double in the win at Texas A&M.

In the Final Four she had in a win against #4 Louisville, 15 points and 10 rebounds. In South Carolina's 64–49 National Championship win over UConn, Boston had 11 points and 16 rebounds for her 30th double-double of the season. It was the program's second national championship. She was named the NCAA Tournament MOP.[12]

Senior season

See also: 2022–23 South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team

Boston scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in South Carolina's 76–71 win at #2 Stanford. On November 27, 2022, Boston suffered a leg injury in a win against Hampton. She finished the season as a unanimous first-team All-American for the third consecutive year, also winning Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, the Lisa Leslie Award, SEC Player of the Year, and SEC Defensive Player of the Year.[13] South Carolina made the Final Four of the 2023 NCAA Tournament but lost to Iowa, their only loss of the season.

College career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career best ° League leader
Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2019–20 South Carolina 33 32 23.8 60.8 16.7 73.8 9.4 1.0 1.3 2.6 1.1 12.5
2020–21 South Carolina 31 31 30.3 48.5 26.5 76.4 11.5 1.6 1.2 2.6 1.6 13.7
2021–22 South Carolina 37 37 27.5 54.2 29.2 77.1 12.5 2.0 1.2 2.4 1.5 16.8
2022–23 South Carolina 14 14 23.5 56.3 0.0 74.1 8.9 1.4 0.5 1.6 1.4 11.4
Career 115 114 26.7 54.4 24.8 75.8 10.9 1.5 1.1 2.4 1.4 14.1

Professional career

Indiana Fever

On April 10, 2023, Boston became the first overall pick in the 2023 WNBA draft, selected by the Indiana Fever (first in franchise history).[4] Boston won WNBA Rookie of the Month in May 2023 (her first month in the league), and won WNBA Player of the Week for the week of June 20.[14] Additionally, she was awarded WNBA Rookie of the Month in June and August 2023. On June 25, she was named a starter for the 2023 WNBA All-Star Game, becoming just the sixth rookie in league history to start the game, and finished with 6 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.[15]

At the end of the 2023 season, Boston was named WNBA Rookie of the Year; the vote was unanimous.[16] She was also named annual Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press as well as AP All-Rookie Team recognition.[16] Furthermore, she became the first player in WNBA history to ever lead the league in field goal percentage (57.8%) as a rookie.[17] On December 10, 2023, Boston represented the Fever at the 2024 WNBA Draft lottery, helping Indiana secure the #1 pick in back-to-back years.[18]

WNBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career best ° League leader

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2023 Indiana 40 40 31.2 .578° .400 .745 8.4 2.2 1.3 1.3 1.9 14.5
Career 1 year, 1 team 40 40 31.2 .578 .400 .745 8.4 2.2 1.3 1.3 1.9 14.5

National team career

Boston with the United States at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics

Boston has represented the United States at various international competitions, including the 2017 FIBA Under-16 Women's Americas Championship, 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, 2018 FIBA Under-17 Women's Basketball World Cup, and 2019 FIBA Under-19 Women's Basketball World Cup winning gold each time, she was named MVP of the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Boston also won gold at the 2021 FIBA Women's AmeriCup.

National team career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career best ° League leader

Youth

Year Team GP Points FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
U16 United States 5 59 .543 .000 .692 8.6 0.2 2.4 1.6 11.8
U17 United States 10 101 .656 .000 .722 8.0 1.5 0.7 1.6 10.1
U19 United States 7 59 .443 .000 .556 6.1 1.4 1.0 1.6 8.4
Career[1] 22 219 .552 .000 .675 7.5 1.2 1.2 1.6 10.0

Senior

Year Team GP Points FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2021 United States 6 75 .537 .250 .842 9.3 1.8 0.8 1.8 12.5
Career[19] 6 75 .537 .250 .842 9.3 1.8 0.8 1.8 12.5

Awards

WNBA

College

International

High school

Personal life

Boston graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2023 with a degree in communications.[22] As of 2023 she planned to work in broadcast sports journalism after her playing career.[23] She later joined NBC Sports as a studio analyst for their Big Ten and Notre Dame women's basketball coverage after her rookie season.

References

  1. ^ a b "Aliyah Boston". Usab.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020.
  2. ^ Smith, Jordan C. (March 15, 2022). "Academic Impact of COVID-19 in Collegiate Athletes". Kansas Journal of Medicine. University of Kansas Medical Center. 15: 101–105. PMC 8942400. PMID 35345576.
  3. ^ Philippou, Alexa (April 1, 2023). "South Carolina star Aliyah Boston declares for WNBA draft". espn.com. ESPN Enterprises, Inc. Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "LIVE: Indiana Fever pick Aliyah Boston No. 1 in 2023 WNBA Draft". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved April 10, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Far From Home, Aliyah Boston Has Found A Home On The Court With USA Basketball". Archived from the original on August 15, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  6. ^ "Where will Aliyah Boston take her two gold medals next?". September 27, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Aliyah Boston". GamecocksOnline.com. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "2019 HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings - espnW 100". Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  9. ^ "No. 3 prospect Aliyah Boston joins the talented crowd headed to South Carolina". November 22, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  10. ^ "Boston's triple-double sets tone for No. 8 Gamecocks". ESPN.com. November 6, 2019.
  11. ^ "Corey Kispert of Gonzaga, Aliyah Boston of South Carolina Lead Academic All-America® NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Basketball Teams" (PDF) (Press release). College Sports Information Directors of America. May 28, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  12. ^ Evans, Jace (April 3, 2022). "South Carolina dominates Connecticut to secure second national championship". USA Today. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
  13. ^ "Aliyah Boston - University of South Carolina". Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  14. ^ "WNBA Awards". Across the Timeline. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  15. ^ "Brittney Griner, Aliyah Boston named WNBA All-Star starters". ESPN. Retrieved June 25, 2023.
  16. ^ a b "Aliyah Boston Named 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year". Indiana Fever. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  17. ^ "2023 Player Review: Aliyah Boston". Fever.wnba.com. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  18. ^ "Indiana Fever again land No. 1 overall pick in WNBA draft lottery". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 10, 2023.
  19. ^ "Aliyah BOSTON (USA)'s profile". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  20. ^ "Wade Trophy winner Aliyah Boston headlines 2022 WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches' All-America team". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  21. ^ "2021-22 Academic All-America® Women's Basketball Teams Announced For All NCAA and NAIA Divisions" (Press release). College Sports Information Directors of America. March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  22. ^ "Aliyah Boston's busy weekend: From graduation to WNBA debut". Just Women's Sports. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  23. ^ "Aliyah Boston's mind is as sharp as her shooting". University of South Carolina. Retrieved September 20, 2023.