“When Tracey Porter of the New Orleans Saints intercepted a pass by the Colts’ Peyton Manning during the Super Bowl to seal the win, Ayla Guzzardo was the happiest person in Ohio. The Hammond, La. native plays point guard for the Zips women’s basketball team and has always been a New Orleans Saints fan.””
When Tracey Porter of the New Orleans Saints intercepted a pass by the Colts’ Peyton Manning during the Super Bowl to seal the win, Ayla Guzzardo was the happiest person in Ohio.
The Hammond, La. native plays point guard for the Zips women’s basketball team and has always been a New Orleans Saints fan.
Guzzardo was also a Louisiana State University fan.
My favorite players growing up for LSU were JaMarcus Russell and Matt Mauck and for the Saints it was Drew Brees, Guzzardo said.
She started playing basketball at around five years old, playing pickup basketball games with the boys. Growing up Guzzardo played several sports.
I played softball, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and baseball, Guzzardo said.
Guzzardo went to Mater Dolorosa, a Catholic school, for elementary and middle school and played point guard.
When high school came around, Guzzardo attended St. Thomas Aquinas where she had a terrific career scoring 1,000 points by her senior season.
I got awarded by getting a 1,000 point ball my second to last game in high school my senior year and my name is on the wall for the 1,000 point club, Guzzardo said.
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School went to the sweet 16 three of Guzzardo’s four seasons. They were state runners-up her freshman year.
My favorite memory from high school was being in the finals. We worked hard for it and we were good, Guzzardo said.
She was recruited by Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The coaches found Guzzardo at a team camp in Birmingham Southern and they asked her to play.
It was my hardest decision in my life to make because my little brother Victor was just born and I didn’t want to leave him. College was four and a half hours away, Guzzardo said.
While at Shelton, Guzzardo never lost a home game.
I had a very good two years there. We didn’t have very many plays and I felt like I could just play basketball there, Guzzardo said.
When Guzzardo went to Shelton, she changed alliances from being an LSU fan to becoming an Alabama Crimson Tide fan.
Growing up, I was an LSU fan, but my roommate’s dad in Junior College played for Alabama, and he played under Bear Bryant, Guzzardo said.
This year in sports was the perfect year in Guzzardo’s eyes.
I called it in the beginning of the year that the Saints would win the Super Bowl, the Crimson Tide would win the National Championship and the Yankees would win the World Series. I predicted it and it made my stepdad (Victor Abene) mad, Guzzardo said.
After two years playing at Shelton State Community College, Guzzardo was recruited by Akron.
It was a big shock when I got the offer and I was excited because it was my first Division I offer. I came on a visit to Akron and fell in love with it, Guzzardo said.
Guzzardo came on her first visit in April, so there was not any snow on the ground. She was in for a few suprises when she moved to Akron.
You could put a map in front of me and I wouldn’t have been able to point Akron out. I never had seen snow in my life, so that was a shock when I came here, Guzzardo said.
When she first came to play basketball here, she did not play point guard; Zips Head Coach Jodi Kest penciled her in as a shooting guard when she first arrived.
Coach Kest is an amazing coach and knows her basketball, but we clashed heads at first, Guzzardo said.
After struggling at first playing shooting guard because of her pass first mentality, Kest decided to put Guzzardo at point guard where she started the last 22 games of her junior year.
Playing her final season as a Zip, Guzzardo is making the best of it, leading the team with assists, free throw percentage, three point percentage and turnovers, scoring 186 points and becoming a team captain.
She took a chance when she came here. She believed in our system, she believed in our program and she has played hard for us, Kest said.