South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston did not end the 2022–23 women’s college basketball season the way she planned to as Iowa knocked off the reigning national champs, 77-73, in the Final Four matchup on Friday at the American Airlines Center.
The Gamecocks star dealt with foul trouble early in Friday’s game that curbed her minutes on the court and ultimately limited her production, as she finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three fouls.
With the season now over, Boston must decide whether she will return to Columbia, S.C., for another year or take her talents to the WNBA. But, according to Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley, it is time for Boston to spread her wings and talent in the pros.
“I’m going to tell her to go,” Staley said in the news conference after the Gamecocks loss. “There are defenses that are played against her that won’t allow her to play her game, and then it’s hard to officiate that. … She’s great. She’s ready. She’s ready to see single coverage. She’s ready to make the next step to the league.”
Boston joined South Carolina as part of the Gamecocks 2019 recruiting class featuring five players—who call themselves “The Freshies” of SC—along with Brea Beal, Olivia Thompson, Zia Cooke and Laeticia Amihere. Boston has the additional year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic ending the ’20 season prematurely.
However, Boston has not made her pivotal decision and it is one that she believes will take some time.
“This decision is a big decision,” Boston said. “I was going to have to really write down the pros and cons of everything. Whether we won or not [Final Four game], it would still have to be something that I would have to consider.”
The 21-year-old was recently named the 2023 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, her second consecutive year taking home the honor.