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‘Not a normal rookie’: Aliyah Boston off to historic start for Fever

(Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

Aliyah Boston has been everything as advertised and more in the first weeks of her rookie season in the WNBA.

On Tuesday, Boston recorded 25 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks, a steal and an assist while shooting 80 percent from the field in the Indiana Fever’s 108-103 overtime loss to the Chicago Sky. It was a career-best performance for Boston six games into the season, and a stat line indicative of what the WNBA can likely expect from the 2023 No. 1 draft pick for years to come.

Already this season, Boston has achieved something no other rookie or WNBA player has in history, averaging 15 points per game on 70 percent shooting in the first six games of a season. She’s averaging 15.8 points on 70.9 percent shooting, while also pulling down 6.5 rebounds per game.

“Aliyah’s not normal. She’s not the normal rookie,” said Fever veteran Erica Wheeler. “She understands what it means to be a great teammate, and a great sister, too.

“She’s a franchise player.”

Wheeler’s commentary on Boston echoes that of Fever leading-scorer Kelsey Mitchell earlier this season. After Boston’s WNBA debut, a 70-61 loss to the Connecticut Sun, Mitchell said Boston does not “have a rookie mindset.”

Despite a 1-5 start to the season, the Fever are playing teams close thanks to Boston’s dominance in the paint. The 2022 NCAA champion and Naismith Player of the Year is averaging the second-most minutes on the team so far, just behind Mitchell and ahead of Wheeler and 2022 No. 2 pick NaLyssa Smith.

Under first-year coach Christie Sides, Indiana is looking to makes its first WNBA playoff appearance in six years, the longest drought in the league.