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USC’s Alissa Pili Named To Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award Watch Lists

Nov 9, 2021

It's another set of preseason honors for USC junior Alissa Pili, whose talents are receiving more national acclaim as the 2021-22 women's basketball season gets underway. Today (Nov. 9), the USC forward has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List as well as the Naismith Trophy Watch List. This is Pili's second selection to the Naismith Watch List.

One of the most versatile and impressive players in the game today, Pili has been an impact player since arriving at USC as a freshman. Named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and to the All-Pac-12 Team in 2020, Pili fought through injury as a sophomore to earn All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. This year, the junior is a captain for the Women of Troy and is tabbed for duty in several different roles. An unquestionable power in the paint, Pili boasts great ball skills as well as the range to knock down 3-pointers. She enters her junior year averaging 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game to go along with a .502 shooting effort from the floor and .799 mark from the free-throw line. Recently, Pili was also named to the Katrina McClain Award Preseason Watch List for the second straight year, recognizing her again as one of the top 20 power forwards in the nation. She also has a spot on the 2021-22 Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Team.

Pili also was tabbed to the Naismith Watch List last year. Previously, the latest Trojan to earn such honors was Mariya Moore in 2018-19. Prior to Moore, Cassie Harberts was a Watch List selection in 2013-14, and Jacki Gemelos and Briana Gilbreath were both selected to the Naismith Early Season Watch List at the start of the 2011-12 season. In 2006-07, Shay Murphy was on the preseason watch list, and Ebony Hoffman was a preseason candidate in 2002-03. USC already boasts two Naismith Trophy winners in three-time honoree Cheryl Miller (1984, 1985, 1986) and Lisa Leslie (1994).

The last Trojan to be named to at Wooden Award Preseason Watch List was Cassie Harberts in 2013-14. Prior to Harberts, Shay Murphy was on the Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team in 2006-07, and Ebony Hoffman was named to the first-ever John R. Wooden Women's Award Preseason All-America Team in 2003.

The John R. Wooden Award® presented by Wendy's® announced the Women's Preseason Top 50 Watch List on Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the most prestigious honors in college basketball, the Wooden Award All American Team™ and Most Outstanding Player Award.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Women's Player of the Year presented by Wendy's. Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award™ midseason list, late season list, and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2022 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy's following the NCAA Tournament in April.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the 2022 Jersey Mike's Naismith Trophy Women's Watch List, which also features 50 athletes. The Naismith Trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding men's and women's basketball player who achieves tremendous on-court success. 

Pili and the Women of Troy have their season opener coming up fast, as USC hosts Hawai'i at 7 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 11) at Galen Center.