The Missouri women’s basketball team could be losing one of its young stars, as a team spokesperson confirmed Friday that freshman point guard Akira Levy will be entering her name into the transfer portal.
The 5-foot-8 Baxter, Tennessee, product can still return to MU, but her decision to look at other options is not the best news for Robin Pingeton and the Tigers. Levy is the fourth Missouri player to enter the transfer portal this season, following sophomores Kelsey Winfrey and Emmanuelle Tahane and fellow freshman Grace Berg.
Levy averaged 4.8 points, 2.1 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game with the Tigers during her true freshman season, and she was quickly becoming one of Missouri’s top options off the bench until the Feb. 24 game against Auburn, when she left the fourth quarter after suffering a knee injury. It was later confirmed that Levy tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in her right knee, ending her season less than two weeks before the start of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Levy’s loss clearly hurt the Tigers in the postseason, as they lost to top-seeded Mississippi State — the team Levy scored eight second half points against in a Feb. 14 win — in the semifinal of the SEC Tournament. Missouri was then bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32 by Iowa.
After the season, Levy was one of three Tigers to receive SEC honors, being named to the All-SEC freshman team while seniors Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter made the All-SEC first team and received the SEC Sixth Woman of the Year award, respectively. Levy was expected to help replace the production of Cunningham, Porter and Lauren Aldridge as their Missouri careers came to an end as well step into the primary ball-handler role after recovering from her injuries, but that may no longer be the case.
Whether Levy does transfer or not, she will have undoubtedly left a strong impression in Columbia.
It started with her commitment on April 27, 2018. As a four-star recruit and the No. 67 player in the nation, Levy was seen as a key piece that would help lead the program after the end of the Sophie Cunningham-era.
She started meeting those expectations with strong performances throughout her rookie campaign. Outside of her second half output versus Mississippi State, she dropped a career-high 14 points during the Braggin’ Rights matchup with Illinois on Dec. 21 and put up 11 points, three assists, five rebounds and two steals in a season-high 31 minutes against Missouri State on Nov. 13.
That’s not to mention the memories she’s left off the court as well, including singing with country music star Kenny Chesney during his concert on May 2 at Mizzou Arena and performing “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys prior to Mizzou Madness on Oct. 20.
If Levy chooses to leave, Pingeton will be without the explosive point guard the program had lacked in recent years and a future leader for a team riding one of its most successful runs in school history. Now, only time will tell if Levy returns to Columbia or decides to head elsewhere.