Blazejowski, Carol (1957—)

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Blazejowski, Carol (1957—)

American basketball player and first woman to be awarded the Margaret Wade Trophy (1978). Name variations: Blaze Blazejowski. Born Carol Blazejowski in Cranford, New Jersey, in 1957; attended Montclair State University.

"One of the best," said fellow teammate Nancy Lieberman-Cline of 5'10" Blaze Blazejowski, who played for Montclair State College in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. During her college career, the three-time All-American Blazejowski amassed 3,199 points, won the first Margaret Wade Trophy in 1978, and set a record of 52 points in a single game at Madison Square Garden on March 6, 1977, before a crowd of 12,000. "Talk about being in the zone, that was the epitome," recalled Blazejowski. "In the first half, I was terrible. Early in the second half, I got a quick fourth foul. We were losing and my coach said: 'I can't pull you, just take jump shots. Don't drive to the basket.' I never missed after that."

Blazejowski was a member of the silver-medal winning U.S. team at the World University Games in Bulgaria in 1977 but missed out on the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow because of President Jimmy Carter's Russian boycott. Instead, she signed with the New Jersey Jems in 1981 but played for only one season; the league went bankrupt. In 1984, she joined the New York Club of the Women's American Basketball Association. A decade later, in 1994, Blazejowski was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and later into the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1991, Blazejowski became director of the Women's Basketball Development for National Basketball Association (NBA) Properties. Her efforts to build a women's professional basketball league proved fruitful, for in 1997 she was named vice president and general manager for the newly formed New York Liberty of the WNBA.