Now, hers will be front and center as a prime example of the thrill of victory following No. 1 South Carolina’s 64-49 demolition of 2-seed UConn in the NCAA Tournament championship game.
The victory had to be cathartic for Boston, who finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds in the championship — her NCAA-leading 30th double-double of the season — to earn Final Four MOP. That’s especially true, considering how close the Gamecocks came to a national championship game berth in 2021: Boston was a last-second put-back basket away from upending Stanford in the Final Four; the shot did not land, however, sending South Carolina home and resulting in a viral image from the 2021 NCAA Tournament:
Boston was more than happy to discuss that moment following the Gamecocks’ 2022 NCAA Tournament championship:
“Honestly, I’ve been thinking about this since last season,” Boston told ESPN reporter Holly Rowe following the game. “Because everyone had a picture of me crying at the end of the Final Four. And they put it everywhere as if that was some type of. …”
“But today we’re national champions and …” Boston continued, before beginning to cry. “Happy tears, Holly. Happy tears. So if you guys want a smile, here you go. And we’re national champions!”
Aliyah Boston crying “happy tears” this year pic.twitter.com/Ws9GxjsWms
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 4, 2022
Boston has more than the 2022 NCAA Tournament championship, too. She was the USWA Women’s National Player of the Year; the Wade Trophy winner; The AP Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year; the Naismith Defensive Player of the year; and the Naismith College Player of the Year.
That incredible season, coupled with the championship, should be the defining legacy for Boston.
‘I don’t want anyone to use a video of me crying as a weak point again,” Boston said on SportsCenter after the game. “This is March Madness. It’s all great.”