Aliyah Boston headed to WNBA, projected as No. 1 draft pick

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina All-American Aliyah Boston is headed to the WNBA.

The Gamecocks' 6-foot-5 forward made it official Saturday, a day after her team's bid for a second straight NCAA Tournament title and undefeated season was ended in a 77-73 loss to Iowa in the national semifinals.

Boston long has been considered the No. 1 overall pick if she chose to go pro. She released a post on social media where she thanked her family, coaches, teammates and South Carolina fans.

“I have decided to further pursue my dream by declaring for the 2023 WNBA draft,” she said.

Boston, a senior who started for the past four seasons, could have taken an additional year due to COVID-19.

Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley has long recommended Boston go pro, in large part because of the freedom she'd have around the basket due to the WNBA's rules that limit packing the paint.

“She’s great. She’s ready. She’s ready to see single coverage,” Staley said after the Final Four loss. "She’s ready to make the next step to the league.”

Boston was a three-time first-team All-American pick by The Associated Press. She was a two-time Southeastern Conference player of the year and helped the Gamecocks go 131-9 in her four seasons — with just one of those losses at home.

She started all 138 games she played at South Carolina, averaging 14.1 points and 10.8 rebounds. She had a program record 82 games with double figure points and rebounds.

Boston was limited to eight points in the loss to Iowa after missing much of the first half with two early fouls.

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More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

 

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