MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (March 30, 2022) – South Carolina’s Dawn Staley has been named the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year, while the Gamecocks’ Aliyah Boston earned the 2022 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year and was named Naismith Trophy Women’s Defensive Player of the Year. It marks the first time in Naismith Awards history that a university has swept all three awards.
“Dawn’s remarkable leadership and Aliyah’s innate on-court dominance were evident in how South Carolina has performed throughout the season culminating with a conference championship, top-tier national ranking and a chance to win the national championship still ahead,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Truly a remarkable season for both and wonderful representatives of the Naismith Awards.”
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Staley is now a two-time recipient of the coaching award, earning the honor in 2020 when she became the first-ever head coach in either men’s or women’s college basketball to win the Naismith Coach of the Year award after previously winning the Naismith Player of the Year (Virginia, 1991, 1992). She edged out Wes Moore (NC State), Kim Mulkey (LSU) and Tara VanDerveer (Stanford). Named SEC Coach of the Year for the fifth time in her career, Staley led South Carolina to an undefeated 12-0 record versus AP-ranked opponents, an SEC regular-season title and a Final Four appearance for the fourth time in the last seven NCAA Tournaments. For the first time in program history, the Gamecocks were ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll for the entire season.
“Werner is proud of its association with the Atlanta Tipoff Club and honoring the most outstanding coaches in college basketball, and we salute all the women’s finalists for leading their teams to exceptional seasons,” said Stacy Gardella, head of Global Marketing Technology & Operations at WernerCo. “It is an honor to recognize Dawn Staley, as her leadership and positive impact on the lives of the student-athletes she coaches make her incredibly deserving of this year’s Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year award.”
“Any time you win an award like this, it goes to one individual, but it really does take a village,” Staley said. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our coaches, staff, administrators and all our players. Their commitment allows us to be recognized this way. I think God gives us an opportunity to play this game we love and to represent it the way that we do. On behalf of our entire team, I want to thank the Naismith Awards and Werner Ladder for this honor.”
Boston is the first player to earn recognition for both Naismith’s player and defensive player awards. For defensive recognition, she ousted Cameron Brink (Stanford), Veronica Burton (Northwestern) and Lorela Cubaj (Georgia Tech); she topped Caitlin Clark (Iowa), Haley Jones (Stanford) and NaLyssa Smith (Baylor) to win women’s player of the year. This year’s SEC Player of the Year, Boston also garnered conference Defensive Player of the Year honors for the third-consecutive season. The junior’s 28 double-doubles this season lead the nation and include an SEC-record 27 straight from Nov. 29, 2021, through March 25, 2022. With her impact felt on both ends of the floor, Boston leads the nation in player efficiency rating and win shares. She is the only player ranked in the top 20 of both offensive and defensive win shares, ranking second and first in those standings, respectively. Dominant on the glass, Boston’s 428 rebounds are the most in Gamecock history since Katrina Anderson grabbed 434 in the 1977-78 season.
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“First, I just want to say ‘congrats’ to all this year’s Naismith Awards finalists,” Boston said. “I think we all made it very hard on the voting academy and fans because everyone had such a great season. I want to thank God. I want to thank my teammates for getting me here to this opportunity, and Coach Staley and the coaches for developing me into the player I am.”
“Jersey Mike’s congratulates Aliyah on her recognition as the 2022 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Women’s Player of the Year,” said Rich Hope, chief marketing officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “While each of the finalists were deserving of this award, Aliyah’s consistent dominance and leadership on the court is what ultimately set her apart to claim this honor.”
WERNER LADDER NAISMITH COACH OF THE YEAR | JERSEY MIKE’S NAISMITH PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Staley and Boston were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading media members from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2021-22 college basketball season. Additionally, fans had the opportunity to cast a ballot through naismithfanvote.com and on the @NaismithTrophy and NCAA @MarchMadnessWBB Twitter pages, which accounted for 5% of the overall vote. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier CPA-led business advisory firm, headquartered in Atlanta. The winner was presented with the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy, which is produced and provided by Herff Jones, leading provider of graduation and educational products and services designed to inspire achievement and create memorable experiences for students. A replica trophy will be donated by Herff Jones to the winner’s university.
NAISMITH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Atlanta Tipoff Club’s board of selectors, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, selected the winners, basing their selections on outstanding on-court defensive performances during the 2021-22 regular college basketball season.
For more information about the Naismith Awards, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.