USA Quarterfinal Contest to Feature Sibling Matchup
When the USA women (3-0) take the court in their FIBA AmeriCup quarterfinal game on June 17, USA forward Aliyah Boston (South Carolina/St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.) will be facing more than the next opponent – she will be facing a team that features her older sister, Alexis Boston.
“Before I was getting ready to head back to South Carolina for training camp, they called while we were at home, and they asked Alexis if she wanted to come and try out for the team,” Boston explained. “And she's like, ‘yeah.’ So when I was leaving, I was like, ‘Well, I'm probably going to be seeing you in Puerto Rico.”
Born in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Aliyah moved to live with her aunt in Worcester, Massachusetts, when she was 12. She has won gold medals with five-on-five USA Basketball teams at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, where she was named to the all-tournament team, and the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, where she was tournament MVP. She also won gold playing 3x3 basketball with the USA at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Alexis, 6-foot-1, is suiting up with U.S. Virgin Islands for the first time. She played basketball in the United States as a junior and senior at Holy Name High School in Worcester and at Owens Community College in 2017-18 and Labette Community College in 2018-19.
The matchup will be the first time the sisters actually see each other in San Juan, Puerto Rico, because health and safety protocols have kept each team in its own bubble.
“I’m excited for the matchup, because it’s been a while since we have played, and it’s cool that we meet back up on this stage,” Aliyah said.
The USA is entering the quarterfinals unbeaten at 3-0 and as Group B’s No. 1 seed, with Aliyah Boston leading the USA in scoring at 13.3 points per game to go with her 7.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. She already has set the U.S. women’s AmeriCup record for single-game blocks (3 vs. Puerto Rico on 6/13), and she tied the high for single-game field goal percentage (6-6 FGs vs. Venezuela on 6/14).
Statistics, however, don’t define a sibling rivalry.
“I think she would say her, but I definitely think it's me,” Aliyah replied when asked who would win in a one-on-one matchup. “100%. Like, I just have to have faith in myself.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands come into the game as the No. 4 seed from Group A with a 1-3 record. The game is an important one – the winner will advance to the semifinals and qualify its nation to compete in one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments, in hopes of earning one of the 12 spots in the 2022 FIBA World Cup. The quarterfinal loser will conclude its play in the tournament and miss out on qualifying for the next step.
“I don’t think I will have any hesitation,” Aliyah Boston said of playing against family. “I’m just excited for it. I'm definitely going in there with the idea to win.”