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Boston, Cooke on Wooden Award Preseason Top 30
Women's Basketball  . 

Boston, Cooke on Wooden Award Preseason Top 30

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball sophomores Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke were named to the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s Women’s Preseason Top 30 Watch List, announced today on ESPNW. The pair have been named to the watch list for all three national player of the year awards this season.
Boston was a unanimous selection on the AP Preseason All-America Team and received votes for Preseason SEC Player of the Year. She opened the season with her 14th career double-double and has scored in double figures in each of the first three outings of the season. The reigning National Freshman of the Year and List Leslie Award winner, she was second on the team in scoring last season (12.5 ppg) with a team-best 9.4 rebounds per game. She was the team’s top scorer and rebounder against ranked opponents (13.0 ppg, 10.8 rpg), and posted seven double-doubles in those 14 games. She finished the season ranked sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.608) and 21st in blocked shots per game (2.61).
Making her debut on the national player of the year watch lists, Cooke was also named to the watch list for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, which recognizes the top shooting guard in the country. She opens her sophomore season tied for the team lead with 17.7 points per game, including 54.5 percent shooting from 3-point range, and is handing out 2.7 assists per game. 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, to earn a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team and honorable mention standing on the Her Hoop Stats Fab 15 Freshmen list.
Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2021 John R. Wooden Awards Women’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award midseason list, late season list and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2021 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.
The Gamecocks opened the season 3-0, including a win over #21/20 Gonzaga last weekend to clinch the title at the Women’s Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic. #1/1 South Carolina hosts #8/8 NC State at Colonial Life Arena on Thu., Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. The game will air on ESPN2.
2021 Wooden Award Preseason Top 30

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina
Paige Bueckers, Connecticut
Charli Collier, Texas
Zia Cooke, South Carolina
Elissa Cunane, NC State
Rennia Davis, Tennessee
Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas
Dana Evans, Louisville
Vivian Gray, Texas Tech
Arella Guirantes, Rutgers
Naz Hillmon, Michigan
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Lexie Hull, Stanford
Rickea Jackson, Mississippi State
Ashley Joens, Iowa State
N’dea Jones, Texas A&M
Ayoka Lee, Kansas State
Kiara Lewis, Syracuse
Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse
Aari McDonald, Arizona
Olivia Nelson-Ododa, UConn
Michaela Onyenwere, UCLA
Ali Patberg, Indiana
Linsey Pulliam, Northwestern
Destiny Slocum, Arkansas
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor
Unique Thompson, Auburn
Evina Westbrook, UConn
Christyn Williams, UConn
Kiana Williams, Stanford