Former Hilltopper Gianna Kneepkens to tip-off March Madness with Utah Friday

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The last two Springs former Duluth Marshall girls basketball star Gianna Kneepkens was tipping off the March madness at the state tournament.

This week the University of Utah freshman is leading the Utes into the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball March Madness Tournament.

"As a kid you always dream of playing basketball at the highest level and at this tournament," Kneepkens said, a guard for the Utes. "It’s super cool that I can now be able to do it with a team I enjoy being with, and playing against great teams across the country."

Named 2021-2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Kneepkens currently hold a team-best average of 12 points a game.

It’s fitting that the Duluth native will be making her first, and Utah’s 18th, NCAA tournament appearance in a year where Minneapolis is the host site for the Final Four.

"I feel like Minnesota basketball is developing and getting better each year which is really fun to see, so that’s definitely really awesome," Kneepkens added.

Seventh seeded Utah will first face number 10 Arkansas in Austin, Texas. The first round tips off Friday at 4:30pm. For the full bracket, click here.