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Boston heads to Fever as No. 1 pick in WNBA draft; ISU's Stephanie Soares picked 4th

WNBA Draft Basketball
Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 11, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — The Indiana Fever made the most of the first No. 1 draft pick in franchise history, selecting Aliyah Boston.

The South Carolina star had a stellar college career, leading the Gamecocks to a national championship her junior year, losing only nine games total and helping her team to three Final Four appearances. The 6-foot-5 Boston was a three-time Associated Press All-American and also the Player of the Year as a junior.

"It's really special, I'm thankful to God for putting me in this position," said the 21-year-old Boston, from the U.S. Virgin Islands. "Everyone in Indiana, they saw something in me, I'm ready to get there and get to work."

The Fever had the worst record in the league last season, going 5-31.

"Aliyah Boston will have an immediate impact on our franchise on and off the court," Fever GM Lin Dunn said. 'We are excited to pair her with Kelsey (Mitchell) and NaLyssa (Smith) as we reload the Indiana Fever. We are very impressed with Aliyah's post skills as well as her natural leadership skills. This a great day for our franchise!"

Boston, like many other players, have had to choose whether to return to college for a fifth season because of the extra year granted for the COVID-19 virus or turn pro. She decided to enter the WNBA draft, joining 111 other players to declare.

"Everyone that has a COVID year has a tough choice," Boston said. "You could be somewhere you know the system. ... It took a lot of thought."

She was one of three South Carolina players taken in the first round. Laeticia Amihere went eighth to Atlanta and Zia Cooke 10th to Los Angeles. It's the 10th time that three players from the same team were drafted in the opening round, and the first since Oregon had three in 2020.

The Gamecocks also had two other players drafted, with Brea Beal going 24th to Minnesota and Victaria Saxton picked next by Indiana.

"It's amazing experience really, because this group of girls have been through life together," Amihere said. "These four years haven't been only about basketball. Being able to be with them on one of our biggest nights is an amazing experience."

Minnesota took Diamond Miller of Maryland with the No. 2 pick, and Dallas drafted Maddy Siegrist of Villanova with the third pick. Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, who was the WNBA's first president, sat with Siegrist.

The Wings also drafted UConn guard Lou Lopez Senechal two picks later. She had transferred to UConn after a stellar career at Fairfield.

"It feels surreal, really didn't think I'd be here," Senechal said. "I've come a long way, gone through a lot of challenges."

Stephanie Soares of Iowa State went fourth to Washington. The Mystics quickly traded her to Dallas soon after selecting the 6-foot-7 center. Washington got back a first round pick in 2025 and second-round pick in 2024.

"It was a very interesting feeling," Soares said. "Pure excitement going to Washington, but now getting to go to Dallas. It's going to be a great next step to the journey."

Soares tore her ACL in January and will miss the upcoming WNBA season.

Stanford guard Haley Jones went sixth to Atlanta. Indiana's Grace Berger was drafted seventh by the Fever. She was the first Hoosiers player selected in the first round in school history.

Seattle took Tennessee's Jordan Horston ninth. Dallas chose Maryland's Abby Meyers with the 11th pick. Meyers started her career at Princeton before finishing with the Terrapins.

Minnesota closed out the first round taking French center Maïa Hirsch.

TIP-INS:

LSU guard Alexis Morris, who helped the Tigers win a national championship eight days ago, was taken 22nd by the Connecticut Sun. Her LSU teammate LaDazhia Williams was drafted six picks earlier by Indiana. ... USC grad students Kadi Sissoko and Okako Adika were taken 29th and 30th by Phoenix and New York, respectively. It's the first time since 2012 the school had two players chosen in the draft. ... Illinois State graduate guard Paige Robinson was the first player drafted from the school when she was selected 31st by Dallas.

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