Aliyah Boston named Division I Freshman of the Year

Lois Elfman | 4/23/2020, midnight

Basketball season ended much too soon for the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team. Although the Gamecocks had the sweet satisfaction of finishing first in the national rankings, they didn’t get to show their stuff in the NCAA Tournament or lay claim to another national title. Thankfully, one of the team’s most potent weapons is just getting started. For an outstanding 2019-20, Aliyah Boston was named 2020 WBCA NCAA Division I Freshman of the Year.

“The whole year was exciting,” said Boston, a 6-foot-5 forward. “I came in excited to learn from everyone, the upperclassmen. This was one of the best years I’ve ever had playing basketball.”

While receiving Freshman of the Year and All-America honors was exciting, for Boston it’s about more than herself. “I’m so blessed,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without God, my teammates and the coaches. They pushed me every day in practice to play hard and stay out of my own head. These accolades that I received just show how hard they pushed me.”

In her freshman year, Boston averaged 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. She tallied 13 double-doubles and set a freshman record with 86 blocks. She was named SEC Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year and received the USBWA Tamika Catchings Freshman of the Year award. She was also named USBWA 2019-20 Women’s All-America Second Team.

“I know what I’ve accomplished this year has to continue to push me so that I can accomplish it in my next years of college and not to let up,” Boston said.

Boston was born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I, and moved to Worcester, Mass. when she was 12. She attended Worcester Academy, which prepared her for the academics of college. In terms of on-court, the pace of the college game is faster, but she’s adapting.

After campuses were cleared due to COVID-19, Boston headed home to Worcester, where she’s doing her coursework online and exercising as much as she can. She’s staying focused and looking forward to returning to Columbia, South Carolina as soon as possible.

“The season we had was amazing,” said Boston, who considers coach Dawn Staley the GOAT. “We played together as a team and we really showed what we could do. We were all on the same page. We all wanted to help each other get better. We were happy for each other and we wanted to see each other succeed. When that’s what we want, nothing is going to stop us.”