Gamecock Trio on Naismith Trophy Watch List
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Reigning National Champion South Carolina seniors Brea Beal, Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke are among the 50 players named to the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Women’s Watch List, the Atlanta Tipofff Club announced today. Boston won the award last season and Cooke has regularly been on the award’s watch list, but Beal made her debut among the top players in the nation.
South Carolina and Tennessee tied for the most entries on the list with three. Nine of the 50 selections play in the SEC with LSU and Georgia having entries as well.
Beal has been a staple in the Gamecocks’ starting lineup since the minute she stepped on campus because of her consistent effort and commitment to doing what is best for the team. A powerful guard with the ability to defend anywhere on the floor, she regularly takes on the opponent’s toughest scorer and thrives at limiting her efficiency. In 2021-22, her primary guard reached her scoring average just six times while 10 were held to less than half their average scoring, including Maryland’s Chloe Bibby (2 pts at SC), Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard (9 pts at SC) and UConn’s Christyn Williams (2 pts in national championship game). In six games of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, Beal held her primary guard to just 47.9 percent of their season scoring average while increasing her own offense by 35.4 percent (4.8 ppg to 6.5 ppg).
The reigning National Player of the Year, Boston is back for another season after a record-setting junior campaign. The NCAA Final Four MOP led the NCAA with a program-record 30 double-doubles last season, including an SEC-record 27 consecutive, as she stamped her authority on the 2021-22 campaign nationally. Her dominance extended beyond basketball as she was named SEC Roy F. Kramer Female Athlete of the Year and became the University’s first Honda Cup winner and CoSIDA Academic All-America Team Member of the Year. In each of her first three seasons, she was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, won the Lisa Leslie Award and picked up All-America recognition.
Cooke is a two-time All-America and All-SEC selection who was part of the NCAA Women’s Final Four All-Tournament Team in each of her last two seasons. The dynamic scorer has reached double-figure points 74 times in her 100 career games, including 14 games of at least 20 points. In 2021-22, she was third on the team in points and assists. In 14 games against ranked opponents last season, she lifted her scoring average to 13.1 points per game, shooting 39.0 percent from the field in thoses outings.
The Naismith Trophy Midseason 30 team will be announced in early January, and then the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists in early March. Following those results, four finalists will be named on March 21, 2023, and the winner of the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced on March 29, 2023.
No. 1/1 South Carolina officially the 2022-23 season on Mon., Nov. 7, against ETSU at Colonial Life Arena. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. on SEC Network, and the Gamecocks will have a Championship Ring and Banner ceremony to celebrate their SEC and National Championships beginning at 8:10 p.m.
Fans interested in buying season tickets can find more information at https://thegamecockclub.com/wbb/ or by calling the South Carolina Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-4SC-FANS (472-3267). Single-game upper level general admission tickets are now for sale to the general public at: https://www.ticketmaster.com/university-of-south-carolina-gamecocks-womens-tickets/artist/849555. Prices vary based on the game.
Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for more information on the 2022-23 season ahead.
2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Women’s Watch List
Diamond Battles, 5th-Yr., G, Georgia
Brea Beal, Sr., G, South Carolina
Grace Berger, Grad, G, Indiana
Aijha Blackwell, Sr., G/F, Baylor
Aliyah Boston, Sr., F, South Carolina
Sam Breen, Gr., F, UMass
Cameron Brink, Jr., F, Stanford
Leigha Brown, 5th-Yr., G, Michigan
Jakia Brown-Turner, Sr., W, NC State
Caitlin Clark, Jr., G, Iowa
Zia Cooke, Sr., G., South Carolina
Jayda Curry, so., G, Cal
Monika Czinano, 5th-Yr.,, F/C, Iowa
Azzi Fudd, So., G, UConn
Rori Harmon, So., G, Texas
Mackenzie Holmes, Sr., F, Indiana
Jordan Horston, Sr., G, Tennessee
Rickea Jackson, Sr., F, Tennessee
Ashley Joens, Sr., G/F, Iowa State
Diamond Johnson, Jr., G, NC State
Haley Jones, Sr., G, Stanford
Morgan Jones, Gr., G, Louisville
Deja Kelly, Jr., G, North Carolina
Tamari Key, Sr., C, Tennessee
Elizabeth Kitley, Sr., C, Virginia Tech
Gianna Kneepkens, So., G, Utah
Charlisse Leger-Walker, Jr., G, Washington State
Jade Loville, 5th-Yr., G/F, Arizona
Alexis Markowski, So., C/F, Nebraska
Taylor Mikesell, Sr., G, Ohio State
Olivia Miles, So., G, Notre Dame
Diamond Miller, Sr., G, Maryland
Aaliyah Moore, So., F, Texas
Alexis Morris, 5th-Yr., G, LSU
Aneesah Morrow, So., F, DePaul
Charisma Osborne, Sr., G, UCLA
Ashley Owusu, Sr., G, Virginia Tech
Te-Hina Paopao, Jr., G, Oregon
Angel Reese, So., F, LSU
Cate Reese, 5th-Yr., F, Arizona
Taylor Robertson, 5th-Yr., G, Oklahoma
Emily Ryan, Jr., G, iowa State
Myah Selland, R-Sr., F, South Dakota State
Jacy Sheldon, Sr., G, Ohio State
Jaz Shelley, Jr., G, Nebraska
Maddy Siegrist, Sr., F, Villanova
Alyssa Ustby, Jr., G, North Carolina
Hailey Van Lith, Jr., G, Louisville
Destinee Wells, Jr., G, Belmont
Madi Williams, 5th-Yr., F, Oklahoma