MINNEAPOLIS — Aliyah Boston has dominated women’s college basketball on both ends of the court this season.

The junior forward helped South Carolina go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, putting up an SEC-record 27 consecutive double-doubles, and she has helped put the Gamecocks two wins away from the program’s second national championship.

Boston was honored as The Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year on Thursday. She is the second player from South Carolina to be recognized with the award, joining former Gamecocks great A’ja Wilson.

“Not often do you get the complete package. I think this recognition is for what she was able to do on both sides of the ball,” South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley said. “The player of the year is usually for offensive-minded people who think that when you put the ball in the hole, you should be bestowed the player of the year. She’s the full package. Every single day.”

Boston received 23 votes from the 30-member national media panel that votes weekly for the AP Top 25. Iowa’s Caitlin Clark received six votes and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith got one.

Boston averaged 16.8 points, 12 rebounds and 2.6 blocks this year.


AP COACH OF THE YEAR: Kim Mulkey knew she had a rebuilding project when she took over as coach of LSU this season.

The longtime Baylor coach quickly was able to orchestrate an incredible turnaround for the Tigers, who won 26 games – 17 more than last season.

Mulkey was honored as The Associated Press women’s basketball Coach of the Year, the third time she has won the award. Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw are the only other coaches to have accomplished the feat.

“I’m certainly honored to be in that group,” Mulkey said. “This doesn’t happen without players who allow you to coach them and buy into a system. We had a really, really good year.”

Mulkey received 10 votes from the 30-member national media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 each week. South Carolina Dawn Staley was second with eight votes. Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer received three and Nicki Collen, who replaced Mulkey at Baylor, got two along with Wes Moore of N.C. State. Five coaches got one vote apiece.

Mulkey, who was surprised by her team last week who told her she won, thanked her coaches and individually named each of her players in the ceremony. She choked up when talking about her family, who were still in Texas.


LSU rose to No. 6 in the AP poll and hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. The Tigers lost to Ohio State in the second round and finished with more than 25 wins for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Mulkey compared this season to her first at Baylor when she inherited a team that won just seven games the year before she took over.

“You make goals that are realistic such as having a winning season,” she said. “Beat your first ranked team, we’re going to celebrate that. In conference if we finish in the top half of SEC we can then potentially get to the NCAA tournament. It sounds so simple, but you have to crawl before you can walk, and have to walk before you can run. We were just realistic.”

The Tigers went 13-3 in the tough Southeastern Conference and had wins over Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Mulkey’s squad also played South Carolina tough, only falling by six points.

WEST VIRGINIA: South Dakota women’s basketball coach Dawn Plitzuweit, who took the Coyotes to a surprising run to the Sweet 16, was hired as coach at West Virginia.

Plitzuweit replaces Mike Carey, who retired two weeks ago after 21 seasons.

South Dakota beat Ole Miss and No. 2 seed Baylor in the NCAA tournament before losing to Michigan, 52-49. The Coyotes finished the season 29-6.



NIT: Jack Nunge made the go-ahead basket with 3.1 seconds left and Xavier won its first NIT championship in 64 years, rallying for a 73-72 victory over Texas A&M at Madison Square Garden.

Colby Jones scored 21 points for the Musketeers (23-13) and was selected the tournament’s most outstanding player. Dwon Odom added 18 and Nunge had 15 points and 11 rebounds to help Xavier erase a 10-point deficit under interim coach Jonas Hayes.

It was the last National Invitation Tournament title game at Madison Square Garden for at least a couple of years – ending a college basketball tradition that dates to 1938.

MSG won’t host the semifinals and finals in 2023 and 2024, the NIT announced Monday, saying it has started a bid process to find new sites for those years and an announcement is expected this spring.

Quenton Jackson had 23 points for the Aggies (27-13), left out of the NCAA tournament despite reaching the SEC final, where they lost to Tennessee. It was a surprising snub by the selection committee that drew criticism from Aggies Coach Buzz Williams and others.


SYRACUSE: Reserve center Frank Anselem, who took on a greater role during the final nine games of the season after starter Jesse Edwards broke a wrist, is entering the transfer portal.

The 6-foot-10 player from Nigeria announced his decision on social media.

NOTRE DAME: Freshman guard Blake Wesley announced he’s entering the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-5 guard, who averaged a team-leading 14.4 points for his hometown Fighting Irish, tweeted his intention. Wesley later told ESPN that he was one-and-done at Notre Dame after helping the Irish to their first NCAA tournament appearance in five years.

Wesley was an Indiana All-Star at Riley High School and Notre Dame’s first South Bend public school basketball prospect since 1985. He earned his first start for the Irish and hit the winning shot in a 66-62 victory over then-No. 10 Kentucky on Dec. 11 at the Purcell Pavilion. He shot 40.4% from the field and averaged 3.7 rebounds, with 84 assists and 44 steals. He earned All-ACC second-team honors.

WISCONSIN: Johnny Davis is ready to turn pro after delivering a superb sophomore season.


Davis announced he’s entering the NBA draft and hiring an agent. The 6-foot-5 guard is regarded as a likely lottery selection and could be Wisconsin’s first top-10 overall pick since the Charlotte Hornets took Frank Kaminsky ninth overall in 2015.


ST. JOSEPH’S 13, NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE 4: Timothy Goodfellow scored five goals as St. Joseph’s ended a two-game losing streak by beating New England College at Henniker, New Hampshire.

Xavier Michaud had three goals and three assists for the Monks (2-7). Noah Tierney-Honan added two goals and Wyatt LeBlanc had three assists against the Pilgrims (1-7)


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