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Boston, Cooke on Naismith Trophy Watch List
Women's Basketball  . 

Boston, Cooke on Naismith Trophy Watch List

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball sophomores Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke were named to the 2021 Women’s Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Watch List, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. The duo joins seven other SEC selections to the 50-player list.
A unanimous selection to the AP Preseason All-America Team, Boston is also on the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List. The recognitions come on the heels of a 2019-20 campaign that saw Boston emerge as the unanimous National Freshman of the Year and the Lisa Leslie Award winner as the top center in the country, putting her in line to become the first repeat winner of that award in its history. Second on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) with a team-best 9.4 rebounds per game, Boston was the team’s top scorer and rebounder against ranked opponents (13.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg). In those 14 games, she posted seven double-doubles, and her 11 double-figure scoring games against ranked teams included a pair of 20-point outings. Boston finished the season ranked sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.608) and 21st in blocked shots per game (2.61).
Cooke was named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list, ranking among the top shooting guards in the country. Her freshman campaign was marked by 24 double-digit scoring outings, including five 20-point games. She poured in 13.0 points per game against ranked opponents to tie Boston for the team lead in that stat. She scored in double figures in 24 of 33 games played on the season, including five 20-point games, and shot 35.7 percent from 3-point range.
Players who did not make the watch list are still eligible to be selected to the Midseason 30 Team, which will be announced in early February. The competition will then be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists on March 2, 2021, and four finalists will be named on March 19. The winner of the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced on April 3.
The Gamecocks are slated to open the 2020-21 season on Wed., Nov. 25, at Colonial Life Arena against College Charleston. With COVID-19 regulations limiting capacity at Colonial Life Arena to 3,500, South Carolina has already sold out of tickets for the season, but plenty of opportunities for fans to engage with the team and participate in game day remain.
Fans can join the G-Hive, which this season includes access to live video streams of practice periodically throughout the regular season in addition to three theme-based t-shirts and a facial covering and a 2021 calendar, for $100. Game-day opportunities include purchasing a cutout to sit in a seat at Colonial Life Arena, participating in a Virtual Sellout or supporting the team from home with a Basketball Watch Party Pack, which includes a rally towel, 3-point cards and an exclusive link to watch the team’s intro video. Fans can also purchase a message to be shown on the videoboard at Colonial Life Arena.
2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina
Sam Brunelle, Notre Dame
Paige Bueckers, UConn
DiJonai Carrington, Baylor
Jessika Carter, Mississippi State
Charli Collier, Texas
Zia Cooke, South Carolina
Elissa Cunane, NC State
Rennia Davis, Tennessee
Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas
Dana Evans, Louisville
Aleah Goodman, Oregon State
Vivian Gray, Texas Tech
Arella Guirantes, Rutgers
Lauren Heard, TCU
Lexi Held, DePaul
Naz Hillmon, Michigan
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Lexie Hull, Stanford
Rickea Jackson, Mississippi State
Ashley Joens, Iowa State
Haley Jones, Stanford
N’dea Jones, Texas A&M
Taylor Jones, Oregon State
Dorka Juhasz, Ohio State
Ayoka Lee, Kansas State
Kiara Lewis, Syracuse
Natasha Mack, Oklahoma State
Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse
Aari McDonald, Arizona
Nancy Mulkey, Rice
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, UConn
Michaela Onyenwere, UCLA
Ashley Owusu, Maryland
Ali Patberg, Indiana
Chelsey Perry, Tennessee-Martin
Lasha Petree, Bradley
Alissa Pili, Southern Cal
Linsey Pulliam, Northwestern
Cate Reese, Arizona
DiDi Richards, Baylor
Destiny Slocum, Arkansas
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor
Taylor Soule, Boston College
Jill Townsend, Gonzaga
Maddi Utti, Fresno State
Hailey Van Lith, Louisville
Evina Westbrook, UConn
Christyn Williams, UConn
Kiana Williams, Stanford