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Dawn Staley declares Aliyah Boston ‘best player in the country’

Aliyah Boston (Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports)

Dawn Staley has her pick for Player of the Year. After South Carolina handed LSU its first loss of the season on Sunday, 88-64, the South Carolina head coach doubled down on her argument for Aliyah Boston to be named National Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

“I think the beauty of Aliyah is her entire body of work,” Staley said after the game. “And there’s not anyone like her who produces on both sides of the basketball. Nobody.

“So, as far as I’m concerned — and I’ve got no vote in it besides my mouthpieces — she is the best player in the country.”

Boston had 14 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks in the Gamecocks’ win over LSU. And defensively, she helped limit Angel Reese to just 16 points and four rebounds, snapping the sophomore’s double-double streak at 23 consecutive games.

It’s not the first time Staley has touted Boston as the best player in the country despite the senior averaging career lows in many stat categories this season. Boston is putting up 13.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game for the No. 1 Gamecocks this year, down from her 2021-22 averages of 16.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

But while LSU’s offense has run through Reese this season, South Carolina has shared the wealth as Boston faces double and triple teams on a regular basis.

“It takes four people [to guard Boston]. No one in the country has to guard that. No one has to guard against all of that,” Staley said in January. “Because of her, everyone on our team got better.

“She’s still the best player in the country. I don’t care what people post or say or whatever — no one’s seeing what she’s seeing. And until someone is seeing that, then you really can’t take her National Player of the Year award away.”