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On Monday afternoon, just off a plane, having just arrived in Minnesota, Alissa Pili said hello. And then she said hello.

One of those carried a bit more emotion.

Pili, the Utah scoring star the Minnesota Lynx took with the eighth pick in the WNBA draft last week, was introduced to her new home Monday. Twice.

The first was a surprise reception on the Target Center floor, where Pili — an Alaskan of both Indigenous and Samoan descent — was welcomed by local members of both communities. Later that afternoon, at A Bar of Their Own, she met members of the press.

That made for a busy afternoon.

As Pili walked on the court, she was met with the dancing and drum playing. As she left the court, gifts in hand, she sounded a little overwhelmed.

"Family is a big part of my life," Pili said. "I'm excited to start my journey here."

Minnesota's lieutenant governor, Peggy Flanagan — a member of the White Earth Nation — described the emotions she felt watching TV with her daughter as Pili was drafted by the Lynx. I have your back, Flanagan said, describing herself as Pili's "auntie" and giving her a gift of beaded earrings.

Former Vikings lineman Esera Tuaolo thanked the Lynx for "drafting our princess," the first player of Samoan descent drafted by a WNBA team. Then Pili danced with Tuaolo.

"Having people around you who really care about what's important to you?" Pili said. "That was on display."

It won't be long before Pili is on display on that same Target Center court. The Lynx open training camp Sunday. Then preseason games May 4 and 8 before opening night in Seattle on May 14.

As she said on draft night, Lynx President of Basketball Operations and head coach Cheryl Reeve said the Lynx are getting, in Pili, an undersized post player who can score on the perimeter against bigger defenders and score inside against smaller foes.

Pili is a high-efficiency scorer, not just a shooter.

But, on Monday, Reeve reiterated Pili will have to get better on defense.

She's ready: "I'm a competitor," Pili said. "And I'm also someone who is very honest with myself. I know [defense] is a question mark for me. The competitor in me wants to prove them wrong."

One area where Pili fits in right away? Culture. She is one of nine siblings ranging in age from 3 to 25. Family is important. Reeve could see the kind of teammate she'd be when she attended Utah's practices.

Pili said her goal is to make her parents and family proud.

"That's what means the most to me,'' she said.

The reception Monday was attended by Lynx coaches, members of the front office staff and a number of WNBA players — including Napheesa Collier and fellow Alaskan Ruthy Hebard.

Interestingly, Pili said she didn't watch much WNBA basketball as a kid in Anchorage. She played in the cul-de-sac with her family, pickup games in the gym.

She is coming up to speed quickly here, though.

"There is a rich history here," she said. "It's an honor to be a part of it, to be able to carry that forward. I'm excited to add to it."