“Alex's actions always spoke loudest,” said teammate Jasmine Niernberger ‘07. “She'd be the first one on the court and the last to leave.”
Azzara, who was an unimposing 5’3”, played on the varsity basketball team all four years and was named an All-ISL selection after each season. She was co-captain of the team her junior and senior years and, during her final season on the squad, became the first girls basketball player known to have scored 1,000 points for St. Andrew's.
“Alex's dedication to doing her best, her compassion for her peers, and her uncanny ability to rally the troops made her an exceptional athlete and student, but more importantly, it has made her an extraordinary friend,” said Niernberger.
Joan Kowalik, who coached Azzara during her freshman year and followed her career as St. Andrew’s Athletic Director, said Azzara was known for her three-pointer.
“She had the ability to change the outcome of a game really quickly with three-pointers,” Kowalik said. “We would be 10 down and she would hit threes and all of a sudden it’s a tied game.”
Azzara said she was excited and motivated by the opportunity to score 1,000 points, a goal she realized was within reach after tracking her scoring average.
“Having grown up playing basketball very competitively and spending most weeknights and weekends playing on an outside AAU club team, most of my free time in high school outside of studying was spent on a basketball court, either practicing or playing,” she said. “Needless to say, when I made my ‘1,000-point’ shot in a mid-season game at National Cathedral School my senior year, it was a huge milestone, culminating years of hard work and passion for the game that I loved, and something I will truly never forget.”
One of her fondest memories at St. Andrew’s was getting to share the court with her younger sister, Nikki Azzara ’10.
“It's hard to explain, but the feeling of camaraderie on the basketball court and in the halls at school with your sister is next level,” Alex said. “Having grown up practicing together and being coached in our backyard by my dad - our biggest fan, coach, and mentor - it was so special to finally have the chance to play together with my parents cheering us on.”
Nikki said having Alex as a “role model big sister” while at St. Andrew’s was an incredible privilege and called Alex a “force to be reckoned with.”
“In high school, I was always inspired and amazed by the way she excelled in her academics while balancing varsity sports, singing in the chorus, playing competitive AAU basketball and still making time for her friends and family,” Nikki said. “Sharing the basketball court with Alex when she scored her 1,000th point is still one of my fondest memories, and this achievement is the epitome of her unwavering determination, work ethic and leadership.”
Basketball wasn’t Alex’s only sport at St. Andrew’s - she also ran cross country and competed with the team that won the 2005 ISL Championship. She said it took some convincing from coach Gary Wyatt to get her on the trail, but it was worth it.
“I'm so glad he didn't give up on trying, because he was absolutely right,” Alex said. “Not only did this experience turn me into a lifetime runner, but it was such a highlight to have been a part of that incredible team that season along with some of my very best friends still today.”
Alex went on to study communications at Wake Forest University, where she continued to play basketball as part of an intramural team. When she’s off the clock from Birchbox, where she is the Director of Merchandising and Beauty Partnerships, she organizes and plays in a co-ed intramural basketball league with high school and college friends in New York City.
The Hall of Fame Induction will take place at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 during the Reunion Celebration Brunch in the Student Center Dance Studio. This year’s inductees include Alex, the 2003-2004 varsity boys cross country team and the 2003-2004 varsity boys soccer team.