November 6, 2020
Breaking down Aliyah Boston vs. Elissa Cunane
Plus more news and notes around the ACC
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Two potential Player of the Year candidates are going to battle against each other early on in non-conference play this women’s basketball season.
On Dec. 3, South Carolina will host N.C. State in a non-conference clash between two top 10 teams. All eyes will be on the paint, where the Gamecocks’ Aliyah Boston will be matched up with the Wolfpack’s Elissa Cunane.
South Carolina will play a return game in Raleigh in 2021.
Both Boston and Cunane were AP All-Americans a season ago, with Boston making the second team and Cunane making the third team. Cunane led the ACC in rebounding with 9.6 boards per-game and helped lead the Wolfpack to their first conference tournament title since 1991. She also averaged 16.4 points, 1.1 assists and 1.1 blocks per-game while making the All-ACC First Team.
Boston was third in the SEC in rebounding with 9.4 boards per-game and helped power South Carolina to a No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll and their fifth conference tournament title under Dawn Staley. She was the National Freshman of the Year, the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year while averaging 12.5 points and 2.6 blocks per-game.
N.C. State has an all-time record of 19-11 vs. South Carolina, but the two sides haven’t met since 2011. They played five times between March 2008 and December 2011.
The rest of South Carolina’s non-conference slate features home games vs. the College of Charleston and Temple, road games at Iowa State and UConn, and a to-be-determined multi-team event. For the first time since 1975, the Gamecocks will not face in-state rival Clemson in women’s basketball.
N.C. State hasn’t officially announced any non-conference plans outside of the game against the Gamecocks, but will host Radford on Nov. 29, according to the Highlanders’ schedule.
Lance White’s squad received another boost this week when the NCAA granted Destiny Strother a waiver to play immediately for the Pitt Panthers. Strother played last season at Marquette, where she featured in 17 games. She has three seasons of eligibility left. White had this to say about the 5-foot-9 guard from Flint, Michigan: “The thing that separates Destiny is her ability to shoot the three-pointer. She has a really high basketball IQ and she absolutely loves to compete. She will add some much-needed depth to our guard position and is a phenomenal teammate as well.”
Boston College picked up a 2022 recruit on Monday, getting a verbal commitment from Ally Carman. A 6-foot-4 forward from Red Bank, New Jersey, Carman isn’t listed among ESPN’s top 100 recruits for the 2022 class, but UNC and Georgia Tech had also expressed interest. Carman plays on the same high school team – Red Bank Catholic – as four-tar Tennessee commit Justine Pissott. She is BC’s first commitment for 2022.
UNC added to its staff Tuesday, hiring Chris Leazier to be the Director of Scouting and Video Operations. Leazier and UNC head coach Courtney Banghart worked together at Dartmouth from 2003 through 2007. He has also worked in the NBA’s G-League, has been the head men’s coach at NAIA Vermont Technical College, and the head women’s coach at Division III Saint Anselm College. He was also an assistant coach for the Nigerian men’s national team in the 2016 Olympics.
Here’s what Elissa Cunane told The Athletic about Raina Perez, the Wolfpack’s grad transfer from Cal State Fullerton: “She might be small, but nobody can guard her.”
Wake Forest will face Arkansas, Davidson and Missouri State at the Gulf Coast Showcase over Thanksgiving weekend in Fort Myers, Florida. FGCU and Maryland are also participating in the tournament.