UTAH UTES

Alissa Pili Named To ESPN’s Top 50 Players In Pac-12 Women’s Basketball History

Mar 9, 2024, 1:49 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah power forward Alissa Pili has already cemented herself as one of the all-time greatest Utes, but ESPN just cemented her as one of the greatest Pac-12 players of all time as well.

In a conference that prides itself on superior women’s basketball prowess, having Pili come in at No. 34 on ESPN’s Top 50 all-time players list just speaks further to the impact she’s had on the game, not just for Utah, but the sport as a whole.

Pili wasn’t the only Ute up for consideration either. Former greats Megan Huff and Michelle Plouffe were given special considerations from ESPN.

It’s More Than The On-Court Stuff For Alissa Pili

Pili is part Samoan and part Inupiaq– a Native Tribe primarily located in Alaska where she hails from and surrounding areas.

It’s always great to see the Polynesian culture represented. However, it is much rarer to see Indigenous cultures represented at high levels of sports with former Olympic gold medalist and football star Jim Thorpe being the most famous nearly 100 years ago.

Pili has been changing that narrative and is providing a powerful, modern, positive, much-needed voice to the space. So much so that Pili has been attracting large crowds of Indigenous People who travel from near and far just to be able to see someone who looks like them perform at an elite level.

“It’s honestly really crazy to me that I’m one of the first ones to be in this position with where I come from and what backgrounds I have,” Pili said. “It brings me so much joy after games to have little girls come up to me and everyone is telling me how much of a role model I am for these little girls. In the past, they’ve never had someone to look up to and I’m that person now. It’s a lot of pressure, but I think it’s a blessing to be that person for other people. I do wish I had somebody like that growing up to look up to and follow in their footsteps.”

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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