Pili wins Pac-12 Freshman of the Year

first_img“It was exciting,” Pili said of hearing the news. “It was definitely a big accomplishment. Just knowing that I’m making so many people proud, it just makes me happy.”  “That’s huge,” Pili said. “They’re some legendary players and just knowing that I’m on that path too is crazy.” Forward Alissa Pili capped off her incredible regular season by winning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Tuesday. (Ling Luo / Daily Trojan) USC women’s basketball forward Alissa Pili was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Tuesday, becoming the fifth Trojan in program history to receive the honor and the first since guard Briana Gilbreath in 2009.  Going into the Pac-12 Tournament, Pili is currently on a 14 game double-digit points streak, including performances against top opponents like No. 3 Oregon and No. 7 Stanford. She also has 11 double-doubles this season, the fourth most in the conference.  “We thought she might not even start [in the] beginning of the year, so she earned it,” head coach Mark Trakh said. “And she came in and she did everything she needed to do and turned out to be a pretty good player … so we’re very proud of what she did.” Pili has had an explosive first season for USC. Recruited as a three-time Gatorade Player of the Year from Anchorage, Alaska, Pili has been in the starting lineup since the season opener and has consistently delivered on both ends of the floor. Pili was honored as Pac-12 Freshman of the Week a staggering four times, the most in program history for the Trojans. Pili is averaging 50.9% from the field, which stands as the fifth best clip in the Pac-12. She has posted a 79.2% free-throw percentage and an 82.4% mark in conference play. Overall, she leads the entire Pac-12 freshman class in scoring, rebounding and free throw percentage. center_img Pili isn’t just one of the best players in the conference, though, as she’s emerged as one of the nation’s most productive players across the board. Pili finds herself in the top 100 in scoring, rebounding, free throws made, field goals made and field-goal percentage as well as the top 50 in double-doubles. Pili has placed her name alongside Trojan greats like Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson with the Freshman of the Year honor. Pili, who obviously also earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team, is joined by teammate senior forward Kayla Overbeck in the Pac-12 honors, with Overbeck receiving a Pac-12 All-Defensive Honorable Mention after averaging 1.7 steals in conference play and 5.8 rebounds per game overall. The true freshman averaged 16.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season, as well as an even better 19.4 points per game in Pac-12 competition — the second most in the conference. She earned herself a spot on the All-Pac-12 Team as one of the top 10 players in one of the NCAA’s most competitive conferences for women’s basketball.  “That’s another big accomplishment,” Pili said. “Because this is one of — the toughest conference in the country, so just seeing myself up there with all these big time players too is cool.” Both players will begin postseason action Thursday at 6 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nev., where the No. 7-seeded Trojans will take on No. 10-seeded Colorado in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.last_img read more