Aliyah Boston loses Naismith Trophy to Caitlin Clark; Dawn Staley wins Coach of the Year
DALLAS — South Carolina women's basketball star Aliyah Boston won her second consecutive Naismith Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday, but she lost the National Player of the Year award to Iowa junior Caitlin Clark.
Meanwhile, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley picked up her second consecutive Naismith Coach of the Year honors. She also won the award in 2019-20.
Clark, who was also a finalist when Boston won the Naismith Trophy in 2022, had one of the most outstanding offensive seasons in NCAA history. She averages 27.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game, and posted the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA Tournament history against Louisville in the Elite Eight. Clark and Iowa face Boston and the undefeated Gamecocks in the Final Four on Friday (9 p.m., ESPN) at the American Airlines Center.
Boston, who led South Carolina to the first undefeated regular season in program history, is the only finalist that ranks top 15 in offensive win shares and top five in defensive win shares. Averaging 26 minutes per game, Boston averages 13.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and two blocks. She also ranks fifth in the country in double-doubles with 21. Clark has logged 17, ranking 15th, and is the only finalist that ranks outside the top 100 in defensive win shares.
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Clark's win could be a significant outlier in the context of South Carolina's season. Nine teams in the history of NCAA women's basketball have completed an undefeated season, and the star of the undefeated team has won the Naismith Trophy in eight of those years. If the Gamecocks win the national title, Clark will be the first player since Cheryl Miller to win the award in the same year that a different team went undefeated. Miller won it in 1986 at Southern Cal when Texas went 34-0.
Clark beat out other finalists Villanova senior Maddy Siegrist and Virginia Tech senior Elizabeth Kitley for National Player of the Year. Boston won DPOY over South Carolina teammate Brea Beal, Stanford junior Cameron Brink and Duke senior Celeste Taylor.
If Staley leads the Gamecocks to a second consecutive NCAA championship, she would be just the fourth coach ever to do so and fifth ever to complete an undefeated season.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Aliyah Boston loses Naismith to Caitlin Clark. Dawn Staley top coach