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Who is Alissa Pili, the Minnesota Lynx's 1st round pick in the WNBA draft?

Meet the newest member of the Minnesota Lynx
Meet the newest member of the Minnesota Lynx 02:22

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Lynx added an elite scorer in the first round of the WNBA draft Monday night.

With the eighth overall pick, the Lynx selected Alissa Pili. The team traded picks with the Chicago Sky before the draft, moving from No. 7 to No. 8 and sending Nikolina Milić for the right to swap first-round picks next year, a 2025 second-round pick and forward Sika Koné.

Here's everything you need to know about Pili, the newest member of the Lynx's lineup.

Gonzaga v Utah
SPOKANE, WASHINGTON - MARCH 25: Alissa Pili #35 of the Utah Utes looks on against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at McCarthey Athletic Center on March 25, 2024 in Spokane, Washington. Getty Images

Where did Pili play college ball?

Pili started her college career at USC, where she played three seasons before transferring to Utah. Pili was a starter in all five of her college seasons. 

At USC, she averaged 12.6 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. With the Utes, her points per game jumped to 21.1 and her rebounds per game stayed the same. Pili improved as a three-point shooter throughout her college career, though even in her final season, she only averaged 4.1 three-point attempts per game.

She was named All-Pac-12 this season, as well as third-team All-American. She was also the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2022-2023 and Pac-12 Rookie of the Year in 2019-2020.

What are the experts saying about the pick?

CBS Sports gave the Lynx a C+ grade for picking Pili. They praised her as "an extremely talented offensive player," but questioned whether she will be a defensive liability due to being undersized for a forward.

WNBA Draft 2024
Cathy Engelbert and Alissa Pili at the WNBA Draft 2024 held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 15, 2024 in New York City. John Nacion/Sportico via Getty Images

Where was Pili ranked pre-draft?

Draft website Tankathon had Pili as the ninth-best prospect in the draft.

Before the NCAA Tournament, CBS Sports projected she would be a late first-round or early second-round pick.

How does Pili fit with the Lynx?

The Lynx need scoring. They were eighth in the WNBA in offensive rating and ninth in points per game last season. Behind leading scorer Napheesa Collier's 21.5 points a game, only two other players averaged double digits on the year.

While Collier, 26, remains the team's star, Pili joins a young core highlighted by Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász, who both made the All-Rookie team last season.

Did the Lynx draft any other players?

In the third round, the Lynx took guard Kiki Jefferson out of Louisville. Like Pili, Jefferson was a transfer who started at James Madison before finishing her college career at Louisville. She averaged 15 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in college. She was named to the All-ACC second team in her final collegiate season.

Jefferson and Pili have both signed rookie contracts with the Lynx.

Louisville v Syracuse
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11: Kiki Jefferson #12 of the Louisville Cardinals controls the ball against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at JMA Wireless Dome on February 11, 2024 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse won 73-72. Rich Barnes / Getty Images
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