Boston, Cooke Named to Wooden Award Late Season Top 20
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina seniors Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke earned spots on the 2023 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s Late Season Top 20 Watch List, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced today. The Gamecocks are two of the three SEC players on the list and are one of three pairs of teammates to make the cut.
The reigning Wooden Award winner, Boston continues to show the form of her award-winning junior season while elevating her game against entirely new defensive schemes designed to slow her down. According to Her Hoop Stats, she leads the nation in player defensive rating (61.0) and is fifth in player offensive rating with an SEC-best mark of 137.0 (minimum 20 minutes per game), and is the only player ranked in the top five of both categories. Boston is sixth in the country in win shares (8.2), coming in second in defensive win shares and 18th in offensive.
In traditional metrics, Boston’s 9.81 rebounds per game (second in the SEC) and 12.9 points per game have come courtesy of 14 double-doubles, which rank her fifth in the nation. She is 28th in blocked shots per game at 2.0. Against ranked opponents this season (four games), Boston’s scoring and rebounding numbers go up, averaging 15.3 points, 12.5 rebounds, and she is second on the team in assists in those games (2.5 per game). On the season, she has scored in double figures 18 times, including a pair of 20-point games
Cooke is ninth in the SEC in scoring at 15.38 points per game, including 17.1 per SEC game. Always a dynamic scorer, the senior is shooting with career-best accuracy this season, hitting 42.0 percent from the field with 38.0 accuracy from 3-point range. Her 38.5 percent 3-point shooting in SEC action is third-best in the league. Cooke has scored in double figures 18 times in 21 games this season, including three 20-point games and a career-high 31 at Georgia earlier this month. She has led or tied for the team lead in scoring 10 times this season.
The Wooden Late Season Top 20 will be narrowed to the national ballot as the season winds down. The national ballot will consist of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Nearly 1,000 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 NCAA Elite Eight round, and the winner of the 2023 John R. Wooden Award will be presented in Los Angeles in April.
No. 1/1 South Carolina is back in action on Thu., Feb. 2, hosting Kentucky in a 7 p.m. tipoff on SEC Network.
Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for more information on the 2022-23 season ahead.
2023 Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 Watch List
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina
Cameron Brink, Stanford
Caitlin Clark, Iowa
Zia Cooke, South Carolina
Monika Czinano, Iowa
Aaliyah Edwards, UConn
Mackenzie Holmes, Indiana
Ashley Joens, Iowa State
Haley Jones, Stanford
Deja Kelly, North Carolina
Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech
Ta’Niya Latson, Florida State
Olivia Miles, Notre Dame
Diamond Milleer, Maryland
Aneesah Morrow, DePaul
Charisma Osborne, UCLA
Alissa Pill, Utah
Angel Reese, LSU
Maddy Siegrist, Villanova
Hailey Van Lith, Louisville