MINNEAPOLIS (USBWA) – In her third All-America season
with a record-setting double-double streak and Southeastern Conference
Player and Defensive Player of the Year accolades, South Carolina
forward Aliyah Boston is the winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale
Award as the National Player of the Year, as selected by
the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Boston is the second player from South Carolina to win the Ann
Meyers Drysdale Award and the first from the SEC since fellow Gamecock
A'ja Wilson won it in the 2017-18 season. She is the ninth SEC player
to win in the awards 35-year history.
The announcement came today at a press conference at the Target
Center, site of the women's Final Four. Boston and South Carolina
(33-2) face Louisville (29-4) in the Final Four at 7 p.m. ET on
ESPN. Later today in New Orleans, the USBWA will present its Oscar
Robertson Trophy to the men's national player of the year.
Boston will be formally recognized at the USBWA's College Basketball
Awards on Monday, April 11 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St.
Louis. She will be joined in St. Louis by Oscar Tshiebwe, the Oscar
Robertson Trophy winner as the men's national player of the year,
national coaches of the year Tommy Lloyd of Arizona (Henry Iba Award)
and South Carolina's Dawn Staley. The two national freshman players
of the year will be honored as well, Jabari Smith of Auburn (Wayman
Tisdale Award) and Aneesah Morrow of DePaul (Tamika Catchings Award).
This season marks the 12th time the USBWA's national player and
coach of the year are from the same school; it last happened in
the 2015-16 season when UConn's Breanna Stewart and Geno Auriemma
swept the two awards.
A 6-5 junior from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Boston
set an SEC record for consecutive double-doubles with 27 that was
ended in the regional final, a decisive 80-50 win over Creighton
that advanced South Carolina to a fourth Final Four in program history.
Boston was 6-of-7 from the field in the first half in a game in
which South Carolina built a 32-point margin. In her previous game,
in the Sweet 16 against North Carolina, Boston had 28 points and
22 rebounds in a 69-61 win, with 10 of her 28 points coming off
her offensive rebounds.
Boston leads the nation with 28 double-doubles one ahead of
the USBWA's Tamika Catchings Freshman of the Year Award winner Aneesah
Morrow of DePaul while posting at least 15 rebounds in 10 of those
games. Boston has already set single-season school records with
139 offensive and 289 defensive boards this season.
Boston now claims consecutive spots on the USBWA All-America
First Team and was a Second Team member as a freshman in the 2019-20
season when she was the USBWA's National Freshman Player of the
Year. She was the SEC Player of the Year and its Defensive Player
of the Year for a third time; her 8.3 defensive rebounds per game
are seventh nationally and her 2.49 blocks per game are 14th.
An all-around player averaging 16.8 points per game, she is fifth
in the nation in rebounds per game (12.2) and 17th in offensive
Boston was named the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the
Week on Feb. 20 after tying LSU's Sylvia Fowles' 15-year-old SEC
record with her 19th straight double-double as the top-ranked Gamecocks
beat Tennessee, 67-53, paving the way to the SEC regular-season
title. Earlier that week against Auburn she collected 10 points
and 12 rebounds in just 20 minutes.
Boston is the ninth Ann Meyers Drysdale winner from the SEC,
the latest in a list of some of women's basketball's greatest players.
Tennessee's Candace Parker (2007, '08) and Chamique Holdsclaw (2000,
'01) are both two-time winners, and the Lady Vols' Tamika Catchings,
for whom the USBWA's National Freshman Player of the Year is named
for, won in 2000. Seimone Augustus of LSU (2005) and Saudia Roundtree
of Georgia (1996) are the other SEC winners.
The Ann Meyers Drysdale Award is presented annually
to the women's national player of the year by the USBWA. Named for
the legendary UCLA guard, the award was first presented in the 1987-88
season and formally named in Meyers Drysdale's honor in the 2011-12
season. Ann Meyers Drysdale played at UCLA from 1974-78, which pre-dates
the USBWA All-America selections. She was inducted into the Naismith
Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Women's Basketball
Hall of Fame in 1999.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was
formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter
Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America
team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA
and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran
at 814-574-1485. For additional info about covering the awards banquet,
contact Jim Wilson with the MAC (314-539-4488).
USBWA Women's Honors
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