South Carolina sophomore and St. Thomas native Aliyah Boston has been named on of the Top 10 candidates for the Lisa Leslie Award, which goes to the nation’s top center in women’s college basketball.
The list was revealed Friday by officials from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, which co-sponsor the award.
The 6-foot-5 Boston earned the Leslie Award last season as well as National Freshman of the Year and second-team AP All-American honors.
This season, the preseason AP All-American is currently on the midseason watch lists for the Wooden Award for the national player of the year and the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.
This season, Boston is averaging 14.2 points and 11.4 rebounds a game, and is doing even better against both ranked teams (14.3 points and 11.4 rebounds per game) and Southeastern Conference opponents (15.0 points and 12.2 rebounds).
She also had the Gamecocks’ first-ever triple-double against an SEC opponent, with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots against then-No. 22 Georgia on Jan. 21. It was Boston’s second career triple-double.
Boston is also second in the SEC and tied for seventh nationally in total blocked shots (47), and is third in the league and 18th nationally in rebounds per game.
Five finalists will be selected in early March, with the winner chosen by Leslie and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee in conjunction with fan voting, which began Friday at www.hoophallawards.com.
The winner of the 2021 Lisa Leslie Award, along with the other four award winners that make up the “Women’s Starting Five,” will be presented April 9.
— Bill Kiser