Utah Women’s Basketball Places Two On Wooden Award Preseason Top 50

Nov 14, 2023, 4:28 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah women’s basketball is poised to be a force again in 2024 and a big reason for that is Alissa Pili and Gianna Kneepkens.

Both players were named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 watchlist on Tuesday afternoon, and it is easy to see why.

The No. 4 Utes are in Waco this evening for a big test against No. 21 Baylor where both Pili and Kneepkens are likely to shine and show why they are both on the coveted list.

Utah Women’s Basketball & The John R. Wooden Award Preseason Watchlist

The preseason watchlist is chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts who pick the 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the prestigious award.

The players on that list are considered strong candidates for the John R. Wooden Award Women’s Player of the Year at the end of the season.

Alissa Pili

Pili ended her 2022-23 season ranked 16th in the nation in scoring with an average of 20.7 points per game.

She ranked 14th in the nation in field goal percentage shooting 59% in the 2022-23 season while averaging 5.6 rebounds per game and 2.2 assists.

Pili also shot at 42% from the three and 79% from the free throw line.

Early on this season, Pili is averaging 22 points per game and 6.5 rebounds.

Gianna Kneepkens

In the young 2023-24 season, Kneepkens is currently averaging 17 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 7 assists per game and 2 steals per game.

Last season Kneepkens was named a WBCA All-American honorable mention and earned Pac-12 All-Conference honors while helping the Utes to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2006.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Women’s Basketball Places Two On Wooden Award Preseason Top 50