South Carolina sophomore and St. Thomas native Aliyah Boston was one of 10 players named semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced earlier this week.
The 6-foot-5 Boston, last season’s Lisa Leslie Award winner as the nation’s top center and the consensus National Freshman of the Year, was one of two players from the Southeastern Conference on the semifinalist list, joining Kentucky’s Chastity Patterson.
Also named semifinalists were Northwestern’s Veronica Burton, Texas’ Charli Collier, N.C. State’s Elissa Cunane, Oklahoma State’s Natasha Mack, Arizona’s Aari McDonald, Rice’s Nancy Mulkey, Connecticut’s Olivia Nelson-Ododa, and Baylor’s DiDi Richards.
Entering Thursday’s game against Mississippi, Boston was sixth in the nation in blocked shots (63) and tied for 10th in blocks per game (3.0), and fourth nationally in total rebounds (247) and 12th in rebounds per game (11.3).
She has performed even better in conference play, averaging 3.8 blocks against SEC opponents, and 3.5 blocks per game against AP Top 25 opponents.
Boston is also on the watch lists for all three National Player of the Year awards, and is on the Top 10 list for the Lisa Leslie Award.
— Bill Kiser