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Boston, Cooke Named Best at Their Positions
Women's Basketball  . 

Boston, Cooke Named Best at Their Positions

Boston, Cooke Named Best at Their Positions

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball senior Aliyah Boston made it a career sweep as the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year, and Zia Cooke claimed her first national award as the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard of the Year, the WBCA and Naismith Hall of Fame announced today. Boston became the first player to win one of the Naismith Starting Five awards every year of her career.

A four-time All-American, two-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and the Gamecocks’ all-time leading rebounder and career double-doubles record holder, Boston is the only player in the country ranked in the top six in both player offensive (4th) and defensive (6th) rating this season. Her 13.0 points per game this season include 15.0 points per game against ranked opponents. Her .559 field goal percentage is her best since freshman year and ranks 25th in the country. Defensively she remains a juggernaut, ranking 25th in the nation with 2.0 blocks per game, including an SEC-best 2.3 per conference outing this season. Boston picked up SEC Player of the Year honors for the second-straight season and became a four-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year selection.

“It was a blessing to win this award my freshman year, and I remember Lisa Leslie telling me not to let it be a reason to stop building my game,” Boston said. “I’m so glad that, with God’s help, I never let her down on that and have been able to continue playing at a high level. I’m thankful to my coaches and teammates, who have helped put me in this position as well.”

A Third-Team All-American, Cooke grabbed First-Team All-SEC honors after leading the Gamecocks in scoring at 15.4 points per game behind a career-best .405 field goal percentage. Her offensive production rose in conference play to 17.0 points per game (6th) and 43.4 percent shooting (10th). Scoring in double figures 103 times in her 137 career games, including 30 this season, Cooke has seen those numbers come more efficiently with 14 games shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field, including seven SEC outings. She had nine 20-point outings this season, including two in the NCAA Tournament and one in the SEC Tournament. In 10 games against ranked opponents, she poured in 16.1 points per game.

“I am so thankful to win the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award this season,” Cooke said. “I’ve been fighting for so long to get to this place with my game, trusting the process of becoming a more complete, consistent player. I have to thank my coaches for helping me understand that everyone’s journey is different, and that if I just I embraced my path and found beauty in my struggle, I could find success with my team and for myself. That’s what this award represents for me, and I hope it can be that for other players who may be in the heart of their struggle, too.”

No. 1/1 South Carolina capped an historic season in the 2023 NCAA Final Four – its third-straight season advancing at least that far in the postseason. The Gamecocks’ 42-game win streak dating back to the 2022 NCAA tournament and their 36 wins this season are both new program records.

Continue to check and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for the most up-to-date information on the women’s basketball season.