South Carolina's Boston wins 2021-22 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award

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 award’s 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 boards (4.0).

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).