Fever’s Aliyah Boston named unanimous WNBA Rookie of the Yr

  • Michael Voepel, ESPN.comOct 2, 2023, 11:00 AM ET


      Michael Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

In April, Aliyah Boston became the Indiana Fever’s first No. 1 draft pick. Monday, she was named the franchise’s second WNBA Rookie of the Year.

She is the fifth player to win the honor unanimously, joining A’ja Wilson (2018), Elena Delle Donne (2013), Tina Charles (2010) and Candace Parker (2008). Boston got all 60 votes from a media panel.

She is the third player out of South Carolina to be named the league’s top rookie, along with Wilson and Allisha Gray (2017). Boston was the sixth rookie to be chosen an All-Star starter.

Boston led the WNBA’s all-rookie team, which also included Seattle Storm guard/forward Jordan Horston (from Tennessee), Minnesota Lynx forwards Dorka Juhász (UConn) and Diamond Miller (Maryland), and Washington Mystics guard Li Meng (China).

The Fever’s other Rookie of the Year was Tamika Catchings in 2002. She was drafted No. 3 in 2001 but didn’t play that season due to a knee injury that prematurely ended her college career at Tennessee. Catchings went on to have an outstanding WNBA career for the Fever; they have not made the playoffs since she retired in 2016.

Boston, a 6-foot-5 center/forward, started every game for the 13-27 Fever, averaging 14.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocked shots. Her 57.8 shooting percentage from the field made her the first rookie to lead the league in that category for a season. She finished with 11 double-doubles.

“I feel like over games, I was able to adjust, especially playing teams the second or third time around,” Boston said. “I’m very proud of myself because as a rookie coming into this league, it is very hard.”

Under first-year coach Christie Sides, the Fever made progress this season, reaching double-digit wins for just the second time in the past seven years. Boston was a big part of that and of the Fever’s future. They will be a draft lottery team in 2024, too, and have the best odds of getting the No. 1 pick again.

“Thinking about our future as a team, I just think we’re going to grow this franchise,” Boston said. “We’re going to continue to build it up.”

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