USC’s Alissa Pili chosen Pac-12 freshman of the year

USC forward Alissa Pili (35) drives past UCLA forward Michaela Onyenwere during in the first half of a game Dec. 29, 2019, at Pauley Pavilion.
USC forward Alissa Pili (35) drives past UCLA forward Michaela Onyenwere during the first half of a game Dec. 29 at Pauley Pavilion.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

USC’s Alissa Pili was named Pac-12 Conference freshman of the year Tuesday while UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere and Japreece Dean were selected along with Pili to the 15-player All-Pac-12 first team in a vote by the league’s 12 head coaches.

Pili, who averaged 16.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, is USC’s first conference freshman of the year since Briana Gilbreath in 2009 and the program’s fifth overall. The 6-foot forward was the only freshman named to the All-Pac-12 team after helping the Trojans (16-13, 8-10 Pac-12) rebound from an 0-5 start in conference play to finish with the No. 7 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, which begins Thursday in Las Vegas.

Onyenwere, a junior whose 18.8 points per game rank second in the conference, earned her second straight All-Pac-12 first-team honor. She and Dean, a senior point guard, led the No. 8 Bruins (24-4, 14-4 Pac-12) to their best Pac-12 finish in coach Cori Close’s tenure as the team grabbed the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Dean earned her first All-Pac-12 honor after averaging 13.7 points and 5.5 assists. Her assists per game ranked second in the conference behind three-time conference player of the year Sabrina Ionescu, who was one of three Oregon players selected for the All-Pac-12 first team.

UCLA guard Charisma Osborne earned a spot on the five-player all-freshman team and was honorable mention on the all-defensive team. The freshman from Windward is UCLA’s third-leading scorer with 12.2 points per game and the team’s second-leading rebounder with 6.0 per game. Despite being just 5-foot-9, Osborne leads the Bruins in total offensive rebounds with 85.


USC begins its postseason Thursday against No. 10 seed Colorado at 6 p.m. PST with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals to face UCLA on Friday.