South Carolina women’s basketball junior forward Aliyah Boston was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Greensboro Region following South Carolina’s Elite Eight victory Sunday night.
The award comes after Boston led the Gamecocks to two tournament wins with a string of dominant performances over No. 5 seed North Carolina and No. 10 seed Creighton.
With this award, Boston adds another honor to her 2022 campaign.
She was previously named National Player of the Year by The Athletic and an All-American by both the Associated Press and the United States Basketball Writers Association. She was also named SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the All-SEC first team.
Heading into the Sweet 16, Boston averaged 16.8 points and 12 rebounds per game and came to Greensboro with double-doubles in each of her last 26 games.
Boston built on her record-setting campaign with arguably her most impressive stat line of the season Friday against North Carolina, scoring 28 points and grabbing 22 rebounds while shooting 12-13 from the free-throw line.
“I have to say, watching Aliyah dominate each and every time we touch the floor is amazing to see,” junior guard Zia Cooke said. “I was just looking at her like, 'Wow, she’s really a GOAT. You had 20 and 20, like, that’s crazy.'”
Senior guard Destiny Littleton said Boston’s “killer mindset” is what helps her deliver during each game.
“We looked up on the scoreboard and we were just like, ‘Oh my gosh, like, this woman is crazy,’” Littleton said. “She goes out there every day and just dominates. I mean, I don’t really know how she does it, but she shows up in practice, shows up in games every single day.”
Despite losing her 27-game consecutive double-double streak against Creighton, Boston had another strong game to help the Gamecocks advance to the Final Four. She finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, shooting 7-9 from the floor.
Boston said it is important for her to demonstrate leadership and to communicate well in games.
“I just think that my role is just to be a good leader and a good communicator,” Boston said. “I try to bring energy and make sure that everyone kind of stays level-headed.”
Cooke said that Boston’s ability to stay humble while consistently performing is impressive.
“The fact that she’s just going out there not realizing that she’s putting up crazy numbers — it shows how humble she is, while also it shows that she’s just worried about winning,” Cooke said. “I don’t think stats is something she cares about too much. She just wants to win at the end of the day.”
Although Boston’s primary focus is on winning games, head coach Dawn Staley said Boston has always had the goal of winning awards, too.
“She has goals of wanting to win a National Player of the Year … There’s nobody that has performed at the highest level against the best competition in our country, consistently, all season long,” Staley said.
Staley said that Boston has the potential to have a similar impact when she plays at the next level.
“She'll leave here next year and some franchise is going to get an incredible person — player — that only wants to win, and when she does it, she usually is the one that's responsible for a lot of that winning,” Staley said.
Boston has opportunities to earn more accolades as the season progresses, as she was named a finalist for the Lisa Leslie, Wooden, and Naismith Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards.