Jennifer Azzi is no stranger to success. With achievements ranging from seven hall of fame inductions, an Olympic gold medal, a Stanford national championship, the Naismith award and a successful WNBA career, her accomplishments over a 25-year period have firmly established her as one of the most respected and accomplished figures in women’s basketball.
Through her six seasons as head coach at USF, Azzi transformed the women’s basketball program into a bona fide postseason contender. She helped lead the Dons to their fourth NCAA tournament berth after knocking off the Nos. 3, 2 and 1 seeds in the WCC Touranment, respectively, to earn the league's automatic berth to the Big Dance.
Senior Taylor Proctor was named tournament Most Valuable Player and fellow upperclassman Zhane Dikes earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team en route to USF's first back-to-back postseason appearances since 1996-97. Among many highlights in the 2015-16 campaign, the team notched an historic win upended 11-time defending WCC champions, Gonzaga, in resounding fashion on Jan. 30, 2016. It was the first win over the Bulldogs in 22 tries.
Proctor (first team), Dikes (second team), and Rachel Howard (honorable mention) were all recognized by the conference for their outstanding contributions on the court. Academically, Howard (first team) was joined by Michaela Rakova, Anna Seilund and Kalyn Simon (honorable mention) on the WCC's all-academic squads.
On January 16, 2015, Azzi was presented with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award which honors an individual’s accomplishments on the court of play as well as their contributions to professional organizations and other civic activities on their 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their collegiate careers.
The 2014-15 season saw the Dons finish with a WCC Championship finals appearance, earning a bid to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, the program’s first postseason appearance since the 2001-02 season. The Dons served notice they were a program on the rise by winning 10 of its first 12 games of the year and taking perennial power Gonzaga to quadruple overtime on the Zags’ home court in the longest women's basketball game in WCC history.
Proctor earned first team All-WCC honors while Dikes earned honorable mention accolades. In addition, Paige Spietz (first team) along with Howard (honorable mention) and Alicia Scafidi (honorable mention) earned WCC All-Academic honors. Azzi’s commitment to academics translated in the women’s basketball program garnering a perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rating in 2013-14.
The 2009 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee brings a wealth of playing experience at the collegiate, international and professional levels to the Hilltop.
After a lifetime associated as both a player and an ambassador for women's basketball, the assignment at USF serves as Azzi's first as a Division I head coach. The Bay Area Sports Hall-of-Famer (BASHOF) brings an impressive playing resume featuring successful tenures with the USA National Team, five seasons in the WNBA, a founding member of the American Basketball League (ABL), professional experience overseas and an All-American collegiate career at Stanford.
A four-year starter at Stanford from 1987-90, Azzi became the first Cardinal women's basketball player to earn the Wade Trophy, the James Naismith Player of the Year award, and the Honda-Broderick National Player of the Year honor. She was Stanford's first WBCA/Kodak All-American as a junior in 1989, and she earned the award a second time as a senior in 1990.
A three-time All-Pacific-10 performer and the 1990 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Azzi led the Cardinal to a pair of conference titles (1989, 1990) while being a catalyst for Stanford's first national championship in 1990, leading her squad to a 32-1 record as the squad's captain.
She finished her career at Stanford with 1,634 career points (eighth), 13.4 points per game (tied for ninth), 191 3-pointers made (seventh) and departed as the Cardinal's all-time leader in career assists (751) and steals (271), and she is currently second and third all-time, respectively, in each category.
Despite a collegiate career that ended over two decades ago, Azzi still sits in 10th in NCAA history for career 3-point field goal percentages (45.2 - 191-of-423 in 95 games). She sunk seven 3-pointers in the 1990 Final Four en route to a national championship, good for a tie for second all-time and just behind Stanford teammate Katy Steding’s eight. In 1989, Azzi’s 9-of-11 shooting from long range stands as the highest 3-point field goal percentage in the NCAA tournament.
Upon her graduation from Stanford in 1990 with a B.A. in economics, Azzi embarked on a professional career that initially took her overseas before returning to compete once again on American soil. Azzi made successful stops abroad in Italy (1990-91), France (1991-93), and Sweden (1994-95).
In the American portion of her professional career, Azzi was one of the founding members of the American Basketball League. A three-time all-star, she played for the San Jose Lasers from 1996 to 1999. During that span, she was named the March of Dimes Female Athlete of the Year in 1996 and was awarded the Sport Image Award, with NFL great Jerry Rice, in 1996.
After the ABL folded in 1999, Azzi was drafted by the Detroit Shock in the first round, fifth overall pick, of the inaugural WNBA draft. During her four years in the league, she played for the Shock (1999), Utah Starzz (2000-03) and the San Antonio Silver Stars (2003). Each season, the guard led her respective teams in minutes played. In 2000, she led the league in free-throw percentage, shooting .930 from the line and set the league all-time single season record for 3-point field goal percentage, hitting 30-of-58 (.517). She finished her career as the all-time WNBA 3-point field goal leader, connecting at a .458 clip.
Internationally, Azzi was a member of the USA Basketball Senior National Team from 1990-91 and 1993-98. A key member of the United States gold medal-winning 1996 Olympic Team that concluded a perfect 60-0 season with an 8-0 record during the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Azzi played on 13 USA National Teams, compiling a mark of 114-14. She also medaled three times at the World Championships, claiming gold in 1998 and 1990, while earning a bronze in 1994.
Azzi is a member of several Hall of Fames, including the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (2009), the Anderson County Hall of Fame (2009), the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (2007), the San Jose Sports Authority Hall of Fame (2006), the Knoxville Hall of Fame (1998), and the Oak Ridge High School Hall of Fame. In 1995, Azzi became the youngest inductee into the Stanford University Hall of Fame.
Since retiring from her playing career, Azzi has continued to serve as an ambassador for the sport both locally and internationally. Azzi has traveled thousands of miles representing the NBA and WNBA on trips to Africa, Denmark and Dubai. In addition, Azzi has conducted youth basketball clinics and workshops across the globe. Most recently, her community involvement has been seen through the NBA Cares program, partnering with the Golden State Warriors and other notable Bay Area figures to open two Live, Learn and Play Zones in East Oakland to serve area youth.
A native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Jennifer attended Oak Ridge High School before matriculating to Stanford.
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