Alaska hoops royalty Hebard & Pili crowned with All-Pac-12 nod
The state of Alaska has never had it so good in the Pac-12 Conference before the arrival of Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks and Alissa Pili of Anchorage.
Now we’re spoiled.
The two Alaskans dominated Pac-12 play and were among the 15 women’s basketball players from the league named to the All-Pac-12 Team.
Hebard, a senior for the Oregon Ducks, earned All-Pac-12 honors for the fourth time while Pili, a freshman for the USC Trojans, made it for the first time.
Pili was also named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Hebard is only the third Alaska woman to earn four all-conference selections at the NCAA D1 level, joining Eagle River’s Kelsey Griffin, who was a four-time All-Big-12 pick for Nebraska in the late 2000s, and Juneau’s Andrea Lloyd, who was a four-time All-Southwest Conference pick for Texas in the 1980s.
Hebard, of West Valley High fame, has lifted her game to another level this season for third-ranked Oregon, putting up career-best scoring, rebounding and shooting stats.
Her scoring average of 17.5 points per game ranks No. 4 in the Pac-12 and is right at her career best of 17.6 set as a sophomore.
The 6-foot-4 forward leads the Pac-12 in rebounding at 9.7 per game; that’s the best of her career. Her board numbers have increased each season: 8.5 to 9.0 to 9.1 to 9.7.
She also leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 2 nationally with a .680 field-goal percentage. Her shooting stats have also spiked each year: 59% to 66% to 67% to 68%.
Hebard is Alaska’s all-time college leader in points (2,322), rebounds (1,272), field-goal percentage (.649) and blocked shots (143).
She is four games shy of matching Palmer’s Jessica Moore for career games. Moore played 145 games at UConn in the early 2000s.
Pili, of Dimond High fame, has had a remarkable rookie season in the Pac-12 – earning freshman player of the week honors four times.
She is the second Alaska woman to earn freshman-of-the-year honors in a power-six conference, the first since Lloyd at Texas won Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year in 1984.
The 6-foot forward ranks top-10 in the Pac-12 in points (16.2, 8th), rebounds (8.1, 5th) and field-goal percentage (.509, 5th).
She pumped in a season-high 32 points against Washington State – the sixth Alaska woman to score 30 points at the D1 level. She grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds against UCLA, making her only the fifth Alaska to grab that many in a game.
But Pili’s performance isn’t just historic by Alaska standards.
She needs just six points to catch Cherri Nelson for No. 5 on the USC’s all-time freshman scoring list at 477.
After that, Pili would be gunning for legendary alums Pam McGee, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller and Paula McGee.
Hebard and Pili are among only five Alaska women who have earned all-league honors in this premier power-six conference.
1996 Molly Tuter Arizona State (Soldotna)
1997 Molly Tuter Arizona State (Soldotna)
2006 Natalie Jones Arizona (Anchorage)
2010 Talisa Rhea Oregon State (Juneau)
2017 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2018 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2019 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2020 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2020 Alissa Pili USC (Anchorage)