Perennial powerhouse South Carolina swept the Naismith national basketball awards.
Junior forward Aliyah Boston was named both the national player of the year and defensive player of the year, while Dawn Staley was named national coach of the year for the second time in three seasons.
Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, Stanford’s Haley Jones and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith all were finalists with Boston for the top honor, but Boston took home the Naismith Trophy. She becomes the second Gamecocks player to win the award after A’ja Wilson, who won in 2018.
𝐀𝐋𝐈𝐘𝐀𝐇 𝐁𝐎𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐍 ➡️ @NaismithTrophy Player of the Year AND Defensive Player of the Year🙌🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/kg5lb1rFFT— GamecockWBB (@GamecockWBB) March 30, 2022
𝐀𝐋𝐈𝐘𝐀𝐇 𝐁𝐎𝐒𝐓𝐎𝐍 ➡️ @NaismithTrophy Player of the Year AND Defensive Player of the Year🙌🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/kg5lb1rFFT
Boston averaged 16.8 points and 12.2 rebounds for South Carolina this season. The 6-foot-5 U.S. Virgin Islands native posted double-doubles in 27 straight games before the streak was broken in the Gamecocks’ Elite Eight win against Creighton.
South Carolina (33-2) enters Friday’s Final Four as the wire-to-wire No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll, which helped garner Staley her second Naismith coach of the year award. She also was named the national coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for the second time in her career.
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The overall No. 1 seed, South Carolina will face another No. 1 seed in Louisville at 7 p.m. ET Friday. The winner of that game will face the winner of the 9:30 p.m. ET contest between No. 2 UConn and No. 1 Stanford in the national championship game at 8 p.m. ET Sunday.