Before UConn: UConn's first notable point guard had a stellar high school career at New Fairfield where she played on two state champions and was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Connecticut as a senior.
At UConn: Rizzotti was the Associated Press National Player of the Year and the Wade Trophy winner as college basketball's outstanding senior player in 1995-96. She was also a two-time Kodak All-America First Team selection, a GTE/CoSIDA Women's Basketball Academic All-American, the Big East Player of the Year, and the Big East Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Rizzotti played in 135 games at UConn, averaging 11.4 points and compiling 637 assists and 349 steals. She was a career 36.7 percent three-point shooter, topping out as a sophomore when she made 42.9 percent.
A Professional Player: Rizzotti's pro career began in the ABL with the New England Blizzard, during which time she was a two-time all-star. After the league folded, she moved to the WNBA after being drafted by the Houston Comets in 1999. She played two seasons in Houston -- while beginning her Div. I coaching career at Hartford -- and was a member of two league championship teams.
In 2001, the Comets traded her to the Detroit Shock, but just a month later Detroit shipped her to Cleveland, where she played three seasons. After Cleveland folded, Detroit reclaimed her in the dispersal draft, but she decided to retire after playing in 148 games, making 27 starts and averaging 16.0 minutes and 3.1 points.
Rizzotti became Hartford's seventh women's basketball coach on Sept. 17, 1999, just days after winning a WNBA title in Houston. She was at the time the nation's youngest Division I coach. During her 11 years, the program has become an America East powerhouse and nationally respected program.
The Hawks have won four regular season championships, four tournament championships in eight years and made five trips to the NCAAs.
In 2009-10, the Hawks (27-4) won a school record 20 consecutive games leading to a perfect 16-0 conference record. The Hawks were as high as 19th in the country in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and 21st in the Associated Press poll.
Last season, the Hawks won 27, the fourth time in the last five years they've won 25 or more. Rizzotti was the America East coach of the year for the third time. She has already won more basketball games than any coach at Hartford, securing her 200th victory Dec. 21.
Her work at Hartford has earned her two prestigious roles with USA Basketball. In 2006, Rizzotti joined Doug Bruno (DePaul) and Carol Owens (Northern Illinois) to coach the USA U-18 National Team to gold at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
This summer, Rizzotti assumed the head coaching duties for the U-18 National Team, which also won gold at the 2010 FIBA Americas U-18 Championship.
The USA finished 5-0 in the tournament and won its fourth straight gold medal against the top 18-and-under international competition in the FIBA Americas zone, including Central, North and South America.
"I was nervous going into this process, and I know, looking back now at our margin of victory, that maybe I shouldn't have been as nervous," Rizzotti said after the tournament. "But you want this team to meet the expectations of the accomplishments of teams in the past, and you want this team to measure up as one of the greats to ever play at U18. So, yeah, those were high. But after three weeks of being here and working hard, this team improved at a very rapid rate, and I was very proud at what it turned out to be."
Rizzotti and her husband, Bill Sullivan, a Hartford assistant, have two sons, Holden and Conor.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun