Former South Carolina women’s basketball player and current Indiana Fever forward Aliyah Boston was unanimously voted the 2023 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year, the league announced Monday.
Boston became the fifth unanimous Rookie of the Year in WNBA history, joining Candace Parker, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne and, most recently in 2018, fellow Gamecock alumna A’ja Wilson.
“Winning Rookie of the Year was one of my goals this year, but for it to be unanimous, I'm just glad that people saw the hard work that I was able to put in and vote me unanimous,” Boston said.
Boston quickly burst onto the WNBA scene this season, leading all rookies in points, rebounds, steals, blocks and minutes per game. She also represented the Fever as a starter in the 2023 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game, becoming the sixth rookie to ever start an All-Star Game and the first since 2014.
Boston said winning Rookie of the Year ranks close to many of the other accolades she earned during her collegiate career at South Carolina, including the 2022 national championship and Player of the Year awards.
The first person Boston called when she won the award was her mother, who, Boston said, was emotional upon hearing that her daughter had achieved her season-long goal.
“She was just so excited, but she cried. Yep, she cried again today,” Boston said. “Both my parents were just super excited for me, just really happy because they knew that this is something that I really wanted.”
Gamecock head coach Dawn Staley also reached out to Boston to congratulate her on the win. Boston said her award is a credit to the type of talent Staley's system produces.
“Even before the award was announced, she was texting me, ‘Hey girl, when's it coming out?’ I'm like, ‘Girl, we've got to wait. They have to tell me,’” Boston said. “Just playing for her has really made such an impact on my game.”
Since picking up the first individual accolade of her professional basketball career, Boston said she is not satisfied with only winning Rookie of the Year. Now, her sights are set on claiming the league's ultimate honor — the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award.
“That's definitely going to be a goal of mine now that rookie season is over,” Boston said. “You don't get a second-year award, so Rookie of the Year was really the one award that us rookies really have, but after that, it's fair game for everything.”