In a move that was expected by most WNBA and college basketball observers, Aliyah Boston was selected no. 1 in Monday’s draft by the Indiana Fever.
Just a few minutes later, Laeticia Amihere was taken at no. 8 by the Atlanta Dream and Zia Cooke (3-time All-SEC) went 10th to the Los Angeles Sparks.
Defensive stalwart Brea Beal was selected in the second round, 24th overall, by the Minnesota Lynx. Victaria Saxton, the Gamecocks all-time leader in games played, went one pick later at no. 25 to the Indiana Fever. Together at USC, Boston and Saxton combined to become one of the most formidable frontcourts in recent memory. They’ll get a chance to recreate that magic with the Fever. The duo will join a Fever franchise badly in need of a boost. Indiana finished 5-31 in 2022 and dropped its last 18 games.
The five draft selections marks a new high for the South Carolina program.
Boston, Amihere, Cooke and Beal were a part of the 2019 recruiting class known collectively as “The Freshies.” As a group, they were a part of a team that finished the Covid-shortened 2020 season at no. 1, won the 2022 National Championship and lost just once at home in their careers. Saxton was a part of that success, as well, having come to Columbia one year prior.
Boston chose to enter the draft and leave behind a collegiate career brimming with awards and achievements. In 2022 alone, the Gamecocks star racked up the following team and individual accolades: National Championship, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Wooden Award, Lisa Leslie Award (nation’s top center), SEC Player of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, AP Player of the Year, USBWA Player of the Year, Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Player of the Year.
Although her final season ended in the semifinals, Boston repeated as the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year and finished her career as a 3-time first-team All-American. She also leaves South Carolina as the school’s all-time leading rebounder and with a record-setting 82 double-doubles.