USC women’s duo on Wooden Award watch list

USC Gamecocks

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball sophomores Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke were named to the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s Women’s Late Season Top 20 Watch List, announced today on ESPNU. They are the Gamecocks’ top two scorers this season and are two of the six SEC entries on the list, more than any other conference. The Gamecocks are one of three teams with multiple entries on the 20-player list.

Boston earned National Player of the Week honors last week and continues to dominate SEC play and make her case for National Player of the Year honors as well. She is one of 10 players in the country to record a triple-double this season and the only one to do it against a ranked opponent. She averages a double-double on the season (13.7 ppg / 11.5 rpg), against SEC teams (15.1 ppg / 12.7 rpg) and in the Gamecocks’ seven games against ranked opponents (14.3 ppg / 11.4 rpg). She has pulled down double-digit rebounds in nine straight games, including four against ranked opponents, to rank 16th in the nation in rebounding average. Boston’s ability to guard anywhere on the floor and her communication on defense are a key reason the Gamecock are among the stingiest teams in the nation, ranking 30th in the country in field goal percentage defense. In addition, she blocks an SEC-best 3.1 shots per game to rank ninth in the country.

Cooke is an explosive, dynamic scorer who leads the Gamecocks with 16.1 points per game (11th in the SEC) overall and is tied with Boston for team-high honors in SEC games (15.1 ppg). She has three 20-point games among her 12 double-figure scoring outings, and that number includes just two games under 15 points. She was the team’s top scorer in four of their seven games against ranked opponents this season. Cooke is shooting a team-best 42.3 percent from 3-point range and is second on the team in assists at 2.2 per game, including four games of four or more assists. Her 78.1 percent free throw shooting ranks eighth in the SEC.

The Gamecocks moved up to number two in this week’s A.P. Poll, with the chance to move into the top spot next Monday. Unbeaten and number one Louisville fell to N.C. State Monday night. South Carolina’s lone game this week is Thursday at Auburn.

The Gamecocks then visit UCONN next Monday in what could be an one versus two match-up.

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