Hall of Fame hoopster

Kathy Andrykowski can’t help but smile whenever she wears the ring she received as a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Kathy Andrykowski
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Kathy Andrykowski of Port Washington has some new bling to show off — a Hall of Fame ring, necklace and pin.

That’s because in June Andrykowski, who played college ball at Marquette University and professional basketball in the United States and Europe, was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

While seven individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame, Andrykowski was part of a larger group, those who played in the Women’s Professional Basketball League — the first
professional women’s league in the United States — inducted as “Trailblazers of the Game.”

It’s just the latest honor for Andrykowski, who is a member of the Marquette University Hall of Fame and last year earned a lifetime achievement award from the school’s athletic department.

After graduating from Marquette with a degree in finance in 1980, she was drafted by the New York Stars but, when the team folded, tried out for the New Orleans Pride and made the team, playing there until the Women’s Professional Basketball League folded in 1981.

She played a reserve role initially but worked her way into a starting position with the team, which played in “a little corner” of the Superdome with a regular crowd of 500 to 1,000 fans.

“It was fun,” Andrykowski said. “We made enough to live on, but I didn’t become rich.”

Andrykowski is a natural athlete who earned a scholarship to play volleyball and basketball at Marquette University at the advent of women’s collegiate sports.

A center on the basketball team, Andrykowski averaged about 20 points a game and 15 rebounds throughout her college career. She was a three-time Wisconsin Women’s Athletic Conference player and co-captain of the team in 1978 and 1979, and at the end of her career she held the top three single-season scoring records in school history.

She still holds the top three seasonal averages in rebounding, including a mark of 16.8 in 1976-77, and the total number of rebounds in a season at 347 in 1979-80.

She received the 1980 McCahill Award, given to the senior athlete who demonstrated the highest performance in scholarship, leadership and athletics. In 2005, she became the first woman at Marquette to have her basketball jersey retired, and in 1991 she was the first female inductee to the Marquette M Club Hall of Fame.

And now she’s a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It was really exciting,” Andrykowski said of the induction ceremony. “The speeches were heartwarming and wonderful. It was an A-1 experience.”

After the seven individuals inducted into the hall spoke, each of the almost 100 members of the Women’s Professional Basketball League who attended the black-tie ceremony was introduced individually to receive their Hall of Fame pin.

Andrykowski got hers from Doug Bruno, who was the head coach of the Chicago Hustle in the WPBL, and is now the head coach of the DePaul Blue Demons women’s basketball team.

That, she said, was special.

“He’s known me since I played in college,” said Andrykowski, who was a member of the Marquette University basketball team before turning pro. “Marquette always played against DePaul.

“I got a hug from him. It was a handshake that turned into a hug.”

Andrykowski first learned she would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in March, when a friend of a friend heard about it on Facebook and passed the word on.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said, but she quickly registered.

The event took place on June 8, 9 and 10. Andrykowski, who was accompanied by her husband Scott Woltzen, was one of four members of the New Orleans Pride, and one of at least four Milwaukee-area players, most of whom played for the Milwaukee Does, to attend.

On the first night, there was a get-together for the inductees at the Hall of Fame where Andrykowski said players “just ran into your old friends.”

The next night, there was an autograph session for the public at the Hall of Fame. She attended but chose not to sign, instead mingling and getting autographs of her own.

“It was only supposed to last two hours but it went three-plus there were so many people there,” Andrykowski said.

The Hall of Fame ceremony that night, emceed by basketball analyst Debbie Antonelli, who played basketball at North Carolina State, was at the Tennessee Theatre, followed by a post-party at the Hall of Fame.

Andrykowski said she knew about half the women there, including a handful who, like her, played in Europe after the WPBL folded.

Andrykowski said she spent time with her former teammates Vicky Chapman, who was also her roommate — “I hadn’t seen her in 40 years,” she said — Bertha Hardy and Augusta “Gus” Forrest.

The trip was Andrykowski’s first visit to the Hall of Fame, and as an inductee she got to see parts of the hall closed to the public.

She and the other inductees also got to sign a wall at the Hall of Fame’s basketball court.

Andrykowski said she ordered her Hall of Fame ring at the event, and waited anxiously for it to arrive.

She’s had it for about a month and said she wears it a couple times a week.

“The ring is really cool,” Andrykowski said. “Good things keep happening to me. I am very blessed, to enter the hall and meet up with old friends...”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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