Summer 2024

Aliyah Boston says 'thanks goes to God' as South Carolina ends regular season 32-0

Aliyah Boston is not focused on being the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft just yet. By the time she hears her name called, the South Carolina star is hoping to be a two-time national champion with just eight losses in her four-year college career.

The Gamecocks took another step toward that goal by winning the SEC Tournament over the weekend, beating Tennessee in Sunday’s final to move to 32-0 on the season. Boston had 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and made all six of her free-throw attempts in the win.

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She gave glory to God in her postgame interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe and in a tweet.

“First, the thanks goes to God because He’s allowed us to be in this position,” Boston said. “We’re buying into everything Coach (Dawn) Staley and the entire staff is saying, and we just want to win.”

In the locker room, Boston gave her all-tournament team trophy to teammate Laeticia Amihere, saying that the Gamecocks “probably wouldn’t be here” without Amihere.

Boston — the reigning national player of the year and Final Four Most Outstanding Player — was raised in a family of faith. Her journey started in the U.S. Virgin Islands where she grew up, and that faith has continued to guide her as she’s turned into one of college basketball’s biggest stars.

“My family, we do a family Bible study almost every night, and I feel like I have been able to grow and get closer to God in that way as well,” she told FiveThirtyEight last March. “My faith helps me on the court because I am more patient, and I know God has already equipped our team with victory. And if anything happens I don’t think should have happened, I just know it’s because of Him.”

Boston left the Virgin Islands to live in Massachusetts with her aunt in an effort to further her basketball career, and she arrived at South Carolina as one of the top recruits in the country. She has earned All-American honors every season, averaging 16.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game as the Gamecocks won the national championship last April.

While speaking to the media before the national championship game, Boston explained why prayer plays such an important role in her life.

“Making sure that I pray over myself that no weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17), it just keeps me calm because I know that God is protecting me and He’s camping His angels around me every single day no matter what I’m doing,” she said.

Though Boston’s numbers have not been as impressive with all the attention she’s receiving from opponents this season, she’s posted her best field goal percentage since her freshman season (56.8%) while winning SEC Player of the Year and SEC Defensive Player of the Year for a second year in a row.

Boston sees all of it — the championships, the awards, the fame — as a gift from God.

“First off, it’s all because of God. He has allowed me to have this, and He’s blessed me with great teammates that have allowed me to shine on this stage,” she said in the interview with FiveThirtyEight. “Every day I wake up and I am locked in to everything that we are doing. No matter who we are playing, I focus on that and how I can get better as a player.”

South Carolina will be announced as the No. 1 overall seed when the women’s NCAA Tournament bracket is released Sunday night. It will be revealed on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET.

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