Aliyah Boston becomes first USC athlete to win Honda Cup

Aliyah Boston added yet another award to her growing list of accolades on Tuesday night when she was named the 2022 Honda Cup Award winner. The Honda Cup honors the top women’s college sports athlete.

The win caps off a historic season for Boston, who won the NCAA national championship in April and was also unanimously named the National Player of the Year and National Defensive Player of the Year.

“First, my thanks goes to God because he’s allowed me to be here surrounded by all these talented athletes and so I can really only thank him and my coaches and my entire teammates,” Boston said during a ceremony held on the Southern Cal campus. “This is really just amazing. I’m just so thankful.”

Boston was one of the top three finalists for the Honda Cup who were selected by a voting body of almost 1,000 NCAA schools. The other finalist were Jocelyn Alo, who plays softball at Oklahoma, and Trinity Thomas, who is a gymnast at Florida.

The Collegiate Women Sports Awards program board of directors ultimately chose Boston as the recipient, making her the first basketball player to win since Breanna Stewart did so in 2016. Boston is the 16th basketball player to receive the award and the first ever athlete from USC to win.

Dawn Staley is one of those 16, winning the award in 1991 during her playing days at Virginia.

“It means a lot because a lot of these women are my role models,” Boston said in her speech. “Coach Staley was a past winner and Candice Parker is one of my role models since I was 9 years old and to be able to be in this group with them, I can’t believe it.”

During the 2022 campaign, Boston led the Gamecocks in scoring with 16.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game and 90 blocks. She was also named the NCAA Women’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Lisa Leslie Award winner and SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

As for any parting wisdom that Boston wishes to pass on to the female athletes of the future, she said to trust God and aim to be better than her.

“I say that because when I committed to South Carolina, everybody asked me if I wanted to be the next A’ja Wilson and I my response was always I want to be the next Aliyah Boston,” Boston said. “So kind of just setting personal goals and high achievements for yourself and not trying to be like anyone else is the best advice I can give anyone.”

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Michael Sauls is The State’s summer sports intern. He is an award-winning student journalist who attends the University of South Carolina where he is the managing editor of The Daily Gamecock.

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