March 15, 2024

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Boston Heads to Fever as No. 1 Pick in WNBA Draft

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Boston Heads to Fever as No. 1 Pick in WNBA Draft

Aliyah Boston is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, going to the Indiana Fever.

The Indiana Fever took advantage of the initial No. 1 draft pick in franchise history, selecting Aliyah Boston.

The South Carolina star had a standout college career, helping the Gamecocks to three Final Four appearances, only dropping nine games overall, and winning a national championship her junior year. The 6-foot-5 Boston won Player of the Year honors as a junior and was named an Associated Press All-American three times.

“It’s really special, I’m thankful to God for putting me in this position,” said the 21-year-old Virgin Islands, bound for Boston. “I was liked by everyone in Indiana, and I’m eager to go there and start working.”

Last season, the Fever went 5-31, which was the worst record in the league.

“Aliyah Boston will have an immediate impact on our franchise on and off the court,” Lin Dunn, general manager of Fever, said. ‘Her pairing with Kelsey Mitchell and NaLyssa Smith as we reload the Indiana Fever gives us great excitement. Aliyah’s post-writing abilities and her inherent leadership qualities have really impressed us. For our franchise, today is a great day!”

Because of the extra year given for the COVID-19 virus, Boston, like many other players, had to decide whether to turn pro or return to college for a fifth season. She made the decision to declare for the WNBA draft, joining 111 other athletes.

“Everyone that has a COVID year has a tough choice,” Boston said. “You might be in a place where you are familiar with the system. … It required considerable thought.”

Three South Carolina players were selected in the first round, including her. Laeticia Amihere placed eighth for Atlanta and Zia Cooke placed tenth for Los Angeles. It’s the first time since Oregon had three picks in the first round in 2020 that three players from the same team have been selected in the first round.

The Gamecocks also had two other players selected, Brea Beal going to Minnesota in the 24th round and Victaria Saxton to Indiana in the next.

“It’s amazing experience really, because this group of girls have been through life together,” Amihere said. “Basketball has not been the only focus of these four years. It’s a wonderful experience to be able to spend one of our most important nights with them.”

With the No. 1 pick, Minnesota selected Diamond Miller of Maryland. 2 pick, and Dallas selected Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist with the third overall pick. Val Ackerman, the first president of the WNBA, and Siegrist were seated together.

Guard Lou Lopez Senechal of UConn was selected by the Wings two picks later. After a successful career at Fairfield, she transferred to UConn.

“It feels surreal, really didn’t think I’d be here,” Senechal said. “I’ve faced many difficulties and come a long way.”

Iowa State’s Stephanie Soares received a fourth-place bid from Washington. Soon after selecting the 6-foot-7 center, the Mystics quickly traded her to Dallas. First-round pick in 2025 and second-round pick in 2024 were returned to Washington.

“It was a very interesting feeling,” Soares said. “Going to Dallas now is pure excitement after going to Washington. It’s going to be a fantastic next step in the journey.”

In January, Soares suffered an ACL tear and will not play in the upcoming WNBA season.

Atlanta took sixth-placed guard Haley Jones from Stanford. The seventh pick by the Fever went to Grace Berger of Indiana. She was the first Hoosier player ever chosen in the first round.

Jordan Horston of Tennessee placed ninth in Seattle. Dallas selected Abby Meyers of Maryland with the eleventh pick. Prior to playing her final game for the Terrapins, Meyers began her career at Princeton.

Maa Hirsch, a French center, was selected by Minnesota to finish the first round.

Reference: www.usnews.com

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