Aliyah Boston, a three-year captain at South Carolina, looks for her next move. (Photo by Caroline Barry)
Five USC women’s basketball players have been drafted to the WNBA.
Aliyah Boston was the league’s No. 1 draft, going to the Indiana Fever, on Monday night.
“I’m just really thankful for everyone at home,” Boston said during an ESPN televised broadcast of the draft. “You guys have supported me since the very first time I stepped on a basketball court.”
She said she plans to keep up her performance as a “dominant person and leader on the court.”
Boston is the second University of South Carolina women’s player to be drafted No. 1 in recent years. A’ja Wilson went first in the 2018 draft, chosen by the Las Vegas Aces.
USC is just the fourth team in the league’s history to have five players selected in the same draft. Tennessee did it twice, in 1999 and 2008, and Notre Dame University had the top pick in 2019.
Combined, “the Freshies,” as they’re known, were part of the NCAA’s top recruiting class when they chose to attend USC.
Each player was in the top 25 of the league’s picks.
Teammates Leticia Amihere and Zia Cooke were drafted No. 8 and No. 10 overall, respectively. Amihere was drafted by the Atlanta Dream. Cooke was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks.
With the No. 24 pick, the Minnesota Lynx chose Brea Beal.
“It’s an honor and a blessing to be here as it is and just be called,” Beal said.
Beal is known as an elite defender and was a finalist for the 2022-23 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.
Victoria Saxton was the No. 25 pick, chosen by the Indiana Fever, alongside Boston. The two will join their former teammate Destanni Henderson, who was drafted by Indiana in 2022.
The five players gave their teammates credit for their success.
“My teammates believed in me,” Amihere said. “My coaches believed in me. And when you have that support system, it’s so easy to go out there and just play for them.”
The women were part of the South Carolina team that won the national championship in 2022. This year, the team made it to the Final Four in the women’s NCAA tournament.
Beal advised anyone who wants to succeed to take that extra step.
“Just invest in yourself,” Beal said. “I invested in myself. … (When it was hard), I talked to people, I reached out to the people I trusted.”
Victaria Saxton competes for ball in a South Carolina game. (Photo by Caroline Barry)
Boston and Beal waving to fans. (Photo by Caroline Barry)
Zia Cooke dribbles the ball and makes a play for the offense. (Photo by Caroline Barry)
Leticia Amihere jumps for the basket. (Photo courtesy of gamecocks online.com)