(NEW YORK) — Aliyah Boston, star of the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team, says she was “really nervous” before being selected No. 1 in the WNBA draft Monday night in New York.
The senior, who the South Carolina Gamecocks note is their “most decorated player in program history,” was drafted by the Indiana Fever.
“I was really nervous just because it was something that I’d been working toward for quite a long time,” Boston said Tuesday on ABC News’ Good Morning America. “When I heard my name called, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulder.”
Boston, 21, is entering the WNBA having already won an NCAA title and Naismith national player of the year award.
She said her hope for the next step in her career is to “win a lot of games and just be successful.”
At South Carolina, Boston, a 6-foot-5 forward, led her team to the program’s second NCAA title in 2022 alongside celebrated coach Dawn Staley.
“She has been the cornerstone of our program for the past four years,” Staley said of Boston in early April after South Carolina’s Final Four loss to Iowa during March Madness. “She elevated us. She raised the standard of how to approach basketball. She’s never had a bad day. She’s never come into practice sulking. She’s always just the person that you saw so very, very consistent.”
Boston said she’s learned from Staley to adapt and not get too caught up in the highs or lows of her basketball career.
“She’s like a second mom to me,” she said of Staley. “I got to college when I was 17 years old and she just helped me grow up.”
Boston has also been open about how much her biological family has supported her in fulfilling her basketball dreams.
At age 12, she and her older sister moved from their native St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Worcester, Massachusetts, to live with their aunt so they could pursue more basketball opportunities. After graduating from high school in Massachusetts, Boston went directly to the University of South Carolina, where she stayed for four years.
“Being parents, it can be hard to just let your children go, but my parents were able to do that,” Boston said. “They just had faith and trusted God.”
When Boston was drafted Monday night, friends and family back home in St. Thomas as well as fans in South Carolina and Indiana were cheering her on.
“Everyone back home, they’ve been supporting me since we left the island, encouraging my sister and I to follow our dreams,” Boston said. “It’s just super exciting to see the strong family, the strong support system that I have behind me.”
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