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2023 March Madness: Alissa Pili revives her love of basketball with record season at Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utah star forward Alissa Pili powered the No. 2-seeded Utes to a first-round win Friday in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, scoring a career-high 33 points with eight rebounds and eight assists (also a career high) in dominant 103-77 victory over No.

15-seed Gardner-Webb. “I think just posting up hard whenever I had the opportunity,” the 6-2 Pili said regarding the key to her success Friday evening at the Huntsman Center, the Utes’ home court. “It’s mostly just my teammates finding me, and like just hitting me when I’m in those one-on-one situations.

Yeah, I just kind of let the game come to me and took advantage of those situations.” Taking advantage of the opportunity has been the hallmark of a resurgent season for the 21-year Pili, who is enjoying a full-circle moment full of promise after finding herself at a crossroads in her basketball career just one year ago.

Pili was a forward at Southern California at this time last year, and she’d just finished her third season with the Trojans with a career-low scoring average of 7.8 points per game.

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