Alissa Pili

As if everybody’s eyes weren’t already going to be locked on Anchorage’s Alissa Pili at the NCAA Tournament, her newfound All-American status will guarantee it.

The face of the University of Utah women’s basketball team will take center stage Friday, when the Utes host Gardner Webb in the Big Dance in Salt Lake City.

Pili was already the reigning Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, but now she’s an All-American as well after being named to the second team by the Associated Press and U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

The 6-foot-2 junior forward out of Dimond High is the centerpiece for 25-4 Utah team that is ranked No. 8 in the country and seeded No. 2 in the tournament’s Greenville 2 Region.

This will be Pili’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, ending a four-year wait that took 91 games, including the first 63 at USC, where she was a great player on average teams.

Now she’s an elite player on an elite team.

Pili ranks No. 18 nationally in both scoring (20.3) and FG% (.599). She’s also averaging 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.9 steals, and shooting .429 from 3-point range on a 27-of-63 clip.

First Team

1987 – Andrea Lloyd, Texas
2010 – Kelsey Griffin. Nebraska
2020 – Ruthy Hebard, Oregon
Second Team
2023 – Alissa Pili, Utah
Third Team
1985 – Andrea Lloyd, Texas
1986 – Andrea Lloyd, Texas
Honorable Mention
1992 – Jeannie Hebert, Miami
2018 – Ruthy Hebard, Oregon
2019 – Ruthy Hebard, Oregon

Pili has scored 25 points or more in nine of 28 games, including a season-high 30 points against Oregon. She hit the game-winning free throws in the final second against Arizona and a made the game-winning layup to beat the buzzer against UCLA.

Pili has racked up 1,363 career points to rank No. 14 on Alaska’s all-time college scoring list.

She could move up three spots after Friday’s game, needing 11 to catch Soldotna’s Molly Tuter (1,374 @ Arizona State), 12 to catch Fairbanks’ Debbie Benson (1,375 @ UAF) and 16 to catch Kodiak’s Hannah Wandersee (1,378 @ UAA).

A deep run by Utah in the NCAA Tournament could see Pili crack the top-10, with Eagle River’s Ashlynn Burgess sitting tenth with 1,474 points at Seattle Pacific and Wenatchee Valley.

Additional Article Sponsors:
Midas Alaska, RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor, R&M Consultants, Inc., Alaska Oil and Gas Association, BOSCO's, Continental Auto Group, Invisalign-Ben Ward, Kathleen Navarre
School Boosters:
Kathleen Navarre, Jim Hajdukovich, Residential Mortgage, Aspen Endodontics, RE/MAX Dynamic Properties, Kevin Taylor