Aliyah Boston selected No. 1 overall in 2023 WNBA draft by Indiana Fever

NEW YORK — South Carolina All-American forward Aliyah Boston, one of the most dominant defensive forces in women's college basketball, was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever on Monday night.

Indiana received the right to select Boston after winning the draft lottery, which was based on the two-year cumulative records of the four teams that did not qualify for the 2022 postseason.

During her four seasons with the Gamecocks, Boston, who is the second South Carolina player to go No. 1 overall following A'ja Wilson, led the Gamecocks to a national championship in 2022, when she racked up every major women's college basketball award.

This season, Boston again led South Carolina to the Final Four, where they were upset by Iowa, snapping the Gamecocks' 42-game winning streak.

Boston averaged 14.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks during her collegiate career.

"I am just ready to get to work," Boston said after being drafted.

Boston pointed out her reasons for not spending another season at South Carolina.

"If I could go back to South Carolina I absolutely would because it was just so much fun. I just knew I had to do what's best for me," she said. "I have always wanted to do this. I have always wanted to be a professional basketball player and I just felt like this moment was right."

Boston goes to an Indiana team that finished a league-worst 5-31 in 2022, losing their last 15 games. The Fever were last in the WNBA in field goal percentage, points scored, points allowed, and opponent field goal percentage.

The Fever have a new head coach in Christie Sides and also general manager Lin Dunn, who had the interim tag removed from her title last summer. Indiana has missed the playoffs in each of the last six seasons.

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Rounding out Round 1

The Minnesota Lynx selected Maryland shooting guard Diamond Miller with the second pick. Villanova's Maddy Siegrist, who led the nation in scoring, then was selected by the Dallas Wings. The Washington Mystics chose 6-foot-6 center Stephanie Soares out of Iowa State, and then traded Soares to the Dallas Wings for future first- and second-round picks.

The Wings were on the clock again to take sharp-shooting Lou Lopez Sénéchal from UConn with the No. 6 pick.

The Atlanta Dream took Stanford forward Haley Jones with the sixth pick, and Indiana guard Grace Berger doesn't have to go very far as the Fever took her at seven.

The Dream drafted South Carolina forward Laeticia Amihere of South Carolina at No. 8.

Tennessee shooting guard Jordan Horston went to the Seattle Storm, who have to replace the production of Sue Bird, who retired, and Breanna Stewart, who headed east in free agency to play for the New York Liberty.

Zia Cooke was the third South Carolina player off the board going to the Los Angeles Sparks at No.10.

The Wings took Maryland's Abby Miller at 11. Rounding out the first round was the Minnesota Lynx, who drafted Maïa Hirsch from France.

Expansion, charter flights are hot topics at WNBA draft

The three-round draft followed the backdrop of issues that the WNBA is facing, including solving its charter flight problem. The league announced that charter flights will be available throughout the postseason and for back-to-back games.

League commissioner Cathy Engelbert said that she was speaking to different cities, such as Portland, for possible expansion and added she did not have an update on the investigation into the Las Vegas Aces, which included allegations of salary cap circumvention and former player Dearica Hamby claiming that team bullied and manipulated her for being pregnant.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Indiana Fever pick Aliyah Boston with top pick in 2023 WNBA draft