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Medal record
Women's Basketball
Competitor for  United States
Pan American Games
Silver 1979 Brazil Team Competition

Carol Ann Blazejowski (born September 29, 1956, in Elizabeth, New Jersey), nicknamed "The Blaze", was a women's collegiate and professional basketball player. She is currently (2008) the President and General Manager of the New York Liberty of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Using a jump shot patterned after what she saw in televised professional games, Blazejowski became one of the greatest scorers in the history of women's basketball, although she didn't begin serious competition until her senior year at Cranford High School in Cranford, New Jersey.

At Montclair State College in Montclair, New Jersey, the 5-foot-10 (1.78 m) forward was a three-time All-American, from 1976 through 1978. Blazejowski won the inaugural Wade Trophy as the nation's finest collegiate woman player in 1978. She led the nation in scoring with 33.5 points per game in 1976/77 and 38.6 points per game in 1977/78. Blazejowski scored 40 or more points in each of her last three games, including the semifinal loss to eventual champion UCLA. Sports Illustrated would call her, "the most relentlessly exciting performer in the history of women's basketball".[1] She set a Madison Square Garden record for either sex with 52 points in a 1978 game against Queens College. Her career tally in college of 3,199 points is only exceeded by the legendary "Pistol" Pete Maravich. Like Maravich, "The Blaze" played during an era without the three point shot.

Only an alternate on the 1976 Olympic team, she led the 1977 World University Games team in scoring and had 38 points in a losing effort against the Soviet Union.

After finishing her college career she played two seasons of AAU basketball with the Allentown, Pennsylvania, Crestettes. The leading scorer on the national team that won the 1979 world championship, she was chosen for the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, but her hopes for a gold medal were crushed after the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics.

In 1980, Blazejowski became the highest-paid player in the Women's Pro Basketball League, signing a three-year contract for a reported $150,000 with the New Jersey Gems. However, the league folded after her first season, effectively ending her playing career.

After serving six years working in the front office of the National Basketball Association, Blazejowski was named Vice President and General Manager of the WNBA's New York Liberty on January 7, 1997. On February 15, 2008 it was announced that Blazejowski was promoted to President of the New York Liberty

In 1994, she was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1999, she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Knoxville, Tennessee.[2]

Blazejowski resides with her family in Nutley, New Jersey.[3]

Trivia

Blazejowski is a hidden player in NBA Jam Tournament Edition, accessible via a cheat code. In the game, she possesses impressive three-point shooting abilities. She is also a hidden player in NBA Jam Extreme.

References

  1. ^ "No. 1 For The Wizardess Of Westwood". Sports Illustrated. April 1978. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1093481/2/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-21.  
  2. ^ "WBHOF Inductees". WBHOF. http://www.wbhof.com/inductees.html. Retrieved 2009-08-01.  
  3. ^ Carol Blazejowski, New York Liberty. Accessed October 29, 2008. "Blazejowski resides in Nutley, NJ, with her family: Joyce, Lainey and Luke."

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