Alissa Pili

If one thing jumps out about the college basketball season, it’s this: Alissa Pili is back.

Back to being a centerpiece for a Pac-12 team.

The Utah junior from Anchorage has averaged 18.5 points on 68% shooting to power her new team’s 6-0 start as she’s looked a lot like the dominating forward that she was three years ago.

The USC transfer this season is the only player in the Pac-12 to rank top-5 in the conference in both scoring and field-goal percentage.

The 6-foot Alaskan helped the 17th-ranked Utes stay undefeated Wednesday after a 69-67 win over Ole Miss in the title game of the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championships in the Bahamas.

Pili scored 21 points and added nine rebounds to just miss her 12th career double-double. She had 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a layup that gave Utah a 67-63 lead with 1:18 to play.

Her performance came two days after her 18-point effort against Alabama which came on the heels of a 21-point game against 16th-ranked Oklahoma last week.

Alissa Pili lets one fly. Photo by Hunter Dyke.

Pili has looked a lot like the player who took home Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors in 2020 when she played for USC. That season she finished fifth in the Pac-12 in FG% (.511) and rebounds (8.0), and seventh in scoring (16.3).

Three years later she’s back to playing at an elite level, back to playing some of the best basketball of her career.

Pili, of Dimond High fame, started this season by making 12-of-14 shots against Idaho in her first game with Utah. She didn’t let up, going 8-of-10 against Southeastern Louisiana, 8-of-12 against Oklahoma and 7-of-9 against Alabama.

In addition to shooting .681 from the field, she has knocked down 15-of-18 free throws (83%).

Pili has piled up 111 points in the first half dozen games to give her 906 for her career – which ranks No. 37 on Alaska’s all-time college scoring list, one spot behind Brittney Kroon, of Wasilla, who scored 907 points at Seattle Pacific between 2002 to 2006.

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