Beal, Boston Finalists for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No 1/1 South Carolina women’s basketball seniors Brea Beal and Aliyah Boston are among the four finalists for Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Boston became the first Gamecock to win the award last season, and Beal is making her debut as a finalist this season.
Beal has long been the unsung centerpiece of a Gamecock defense that annually ranks among the stingiest in the nation. The SEC All-Defensive Team selection has allowed just 4.4 points per game on 23.2 percent shooting this season, according to Synergy. In six games against ranked opponents, that number rises to just 5.5 points per game on 26.2 percent shooting. Beal’s versatility and ability to defend anywhere on the court have helped the Gamecocks rank fourth in the nation in scoring defense (51.1 ppg) and second in field goal percentage defense (.314). She has three games of three or more blocked shots, including a career-high five against South Dakota State (Dec. 15). She is third on the team with 4.2 rebounds per game with a majority of those coming on the defensive end (3.3).
The reigning Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and four-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Boston continues to dominate on that end of the court. According to Her Hoop Stats, she is sixth in the country in player defensive rating and defensive win shares per 40 minutes – both numbers that lead the SEC. Her 2.00 blocks per game are fourth in the SEC overall, and she led the SEC with 2.25 blocks per conference game. Boston is the SEC’s active blocked shots leader with 321 in her career, which is tied for seventh in league history. Second in the SEC in rebounding average (9.7), 6.32 of those come on the defensive end.
The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year will be crowned on Wed., Mar. 29.
NCAA Tournament No. 1 overall seed South Carolina will be back in action on Fri., March 17, against Norfolk State. It will be the second game of the session at Colonial Life Arena, tipping off at approximately 2 p.m. on ESPN.
Stay tuned to GamecocksOnline.com and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for more information on the 2022-23 season.
2023 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Finalists
Brea Beal, South Carolina
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina
Cameron Brink, Stanford
Celeste Taylor, Duke