Why WNBA rookie Aliyah Boston could get the Fever soaring
It is safe to say that the Indiana Fever have been struggling over the past several seasons.
The Fever are coming off a 2022 campaign that saw them go 5-31, which was the worst record in the WNBA. Additionally, they have missed the playoffs every year since 2016.
Come the dawn of 2023, the Fever needed a heroine for the ages to end their perpetual nuclear winter. Step forward Aliyah Boston, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s WNBA Draft…
Boston’s winning mentality
One article is not enough to encompass all the incredible feats that Boston achieved in her outstanding collegiate career with the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Regardless, here is a short list of Boston’s most notable accomplishments with the University of South Carolina:
- Only player in SEC history to be named the league’s top defensive player four times.
- Ranks sixth in NCAA history with 27 consecutive double-doubles — an SEC record.
- In 52 appearances against ranked teams, Boston averaged 15.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per contest.
- Across 16 tournament games, she compiled averages of 14.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per outing.
- In 138 career games at South Carolina, Boston reached double figures 115 times.
- Additionally, she had 93 outings in which she reached double-digits in rebounding.
It is easy to see why the Fever made her the top overall pick, but will her skills translate to the big time? The answer to that question is a resounding yes!
A legend in the making?
Nobody who follows collegiate basketball would be surprised if WNBA rookie Aliyah Boston joined the likes of Breanna Stewart as an MVP award contender in the not-too-distant future.
For starters, Boston has failed to post double figures only twice in the first 10 games of her WNBA career. And she has already accumulated multiple noteworthy performances during her rookie season.
In an outing against the Connecticut Sun on May 30, Boston tallied a team-high 20 points (8-for-12 shooting from the floor) to go along with four rebounds, and four assists:
Unfortunately, her production wasn’t enough to prevent the Fever from losing a close one by an 81-78 margin.
Another notable performance from Boston came against the Chicago Sky on June 6. In that contest, Boston scored a team-best 25 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and had two blocked shots as well:
Boston more than held her own inside the paint in that performance, and was a force to be reckoned with on the glass as well. The Sky eventually went on to win that game 108-103, but needed an overtime period to do so.
A multi-talented asset
In a recent outing against the Washington Mystics on June 13, Boston’s ability as a playmaker was also on display. Not only did she post another double-double that included 23 points and 14 rebounds, but she also handed out six assists as well.
Unlike the other two performances on this list, the Indiana Fever also won on that occasion (87-66). That might be seen as a watershed result a year or two from now. Notably, that victory snapped a six-game losing streak against the Mystics, while also marking the team’s first double-digit victory in two seasons.
Boston shot an efficient 11-for-14 from the floor as well, becoming the youngest player in WNBA history to record a game of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists while shooting 75 percent from the field. This game also marked the first time in league history that a rookie led all players in points, rebounds, and assists.
The numbers don’t lie
Over the past two campaigns, the Fever have won a combined 11 games. But the times seem to be a-changing faster than Bob Dylan can plan another comeback gig.
Across the season, Boston is averaging 15.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per contest. She ranks second on the team in points and rebounds, while ranking third in assists.
She also ranks first on the roster in blocks per game (1.3), and shooting efficiency (66.3 percent). No wonder the Fever have nearly matched last season’s win total already!
The hope was that adding a player with Boston’s skill set to the mix would help the Fever become a potential playoff contender. Right now, everything about the team suggests that 2023 could finally be the long-suffering team’s breakthrough year.