Aliyah Boston, Gamecocks feeling the love from hometowns after championship

·2 min read
Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com

South Carolina may have held its victory parade almost two months ago, but the celebration of the women’s basketball team’s second national title in program history hasn’t stopped there.

Head coach Dawn Staley and several individual players have gone on to receive recognition from their respective hometowns in the days since the Gamecocks paraded down Main Street.

The most recent of these various honors will come Saturday, June 4 when “Aliyah Boston Day” is celebrated in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Boston, a St. Thomas native, will have a sign unveiled in her honor at the King Airport next Saturday morning, which will be followed by a parade and ceremony held by the Office of the Governor and the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation.

Boston’s recruiting class counterparts Zia Cooke and Brea Beal also received special signage in their hometowns in recent weeks.

On April 29, Cooke had a street named after her in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

Cooke was emotional during the ceremony at Rogers High School, where Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz made the announcement.

“I really haven’t made it yet, but I have had a lot of accomplishments,” Cooke told WGTV-TV news in Toledo. “It shows that they believe in me that much and to know I deserve a street named after me is a surreal feeling. I’m super happy about that, it was a shocking moment for me.”

Similar to Cooke, Beal had a billboard go up in her hometown of Rock Island, Illinois earlier this week, congratulating her on the national championship victory.

Staley has been all over the country since bringing home the national title to Columbia. The long list of excursions includes attending Philadelphia 76ers games, making late-night television show appearances and taking a trip to New York City.

The two-time Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year also added an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Temple University to her ever-growing list of accolades on May 5.

After she was presented with degree, Staley delivered a commencement speech in which she expressed her gratitude for the university, where she started her coaching career.

“I am beyond elated and frankly humbled to receive an honorary degree from a university that feels like family and so much like home,” Staley said in her speech.