Boston’s Double-Double Helps U.S. to FIBA U19 Gold
BANGKOK, Thailand – South Carolina freshman Aliyah Boston timed her first double-double of the 2019 FIBA Women’s U19 World Cup perfectly, delivering 12 points and 11 rebounds in the gold medal game to help the United States top Australia 74-70 in overtime to secure its eighth gold medal at the tournament.
After the American team overwhelmed Australians 79-56 to open group play on July 20, the Australians gave the U.S. everything it could handle in the gold medal game. The two teams headed into the fourth quarter tied 53-53.
Boston turned in a strong fourth quarter, locking in defensively and staying strong on the offensive glass, to help the Americans stay in the mix and eventually force overtime.
With neither team taking control early in the fourth, Boston pulled in an offensive rebound early and less than a minute later she put the U.S. up 55-53 with a layup. With 5:09 to play and her team down 60-57, Boston turned another offensive board into a putback to pull the Americans within one. Over the next three minutes and the U.S. trailing by a possession throughout, Boston’s defense was crucial with a pair of blocked shots, a defensive rebound and, finally, a steal with 1:49 to play and her team down 64-63.
Even with that defensive effort, the American found themselves down 66-63 with 51 seconds to play. The U.S. misfired on its next two field goal attempts with Australia picking up a steal with 17 seconds to go. An Australian player commited unsportsmanlike foul, sending one of the U.S.’s top scorers to the sidelines with a bloody nose. Still, it left the Americans with a chance as they were awarded two free throws and possession of the ball. The U.S. players delivered in the clutch, knotting the game with 15 seconds to go and then defending the Australians’ final possession to send the game to overtime.
In OT, both teams struggled to take control with the gold medal on the line. After the U.S. tied the game 68-68 with 4:18 to play, neither team scored again until a jumper put the Americans up 70-68 wit 2:45 to play. After a missed layup by Australia, the U.S. quickly doubled its lead with another jumper with 2:02 on the clock. Steals and offensive rebounds helped the Americans keep Australia at bay down the stretch for the victory.
Starting all seven games for the United States, Boston finished the tournament with 8.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, ranking fourth and third on the team, respectively. She shot 55.6 percent from the field and 3.0 of her rebounds came on the offensive end.
The gold medal is the fourth for Boston with USA Basketball. She was part of the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup and Youth Olympic Games gold-medal winning teams as well as the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 World Cup squad. For South Carolina, Boston was the highest ranked signee in the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class, closing the season as the No. 3 recruit in the country.
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