Last month, former Cleveland State guard Taylah Levy signed with the Eastern Mavericks of Australia’s NBL1 for the upcoming 2023 season, the team announced.
The NBL1 is essentially the second tier of professional basketball in Australia, behind the WNBL for women and the NBL for men. It’s divided into five regional conferences for both women and men – East, North, Central, South, and West – each of which has an extensive history as a league under a different name, before being reorganized into the NBL1 structure over the last couple years. The Mavericks play in NBL1 Central, whose ten teams are all based in the Adelaide area, not far from Levy’s hometown of Victor Harbor.
Levy has plenty of history with the organization as a former junior player prior to her time at CSU, and her return as a senior is a shot in the arm for a squad looking to drastically improve its fortunes on the court. The Mavericks were just 3-15 last season, good for eighth place, despite the exploits of players like former University of Ottawa teammates Oksana Gouchie-Provencher (who also played at Stony Brook) and Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu. Gouchie-Provencher averaged a double-double in 2022 with 14.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, while Lefebvre-Okankwu paced the Mavericks with 19.7 points per game.
However with a new coach, Vikki Kelson, and Levy on board for the 2023 campaign, the Mavs will look to take their best shot at the reigning NBL1 Central champion West Adelaide Bearcats.
In all, Levy was at Cleveland State for three years, playing most prominently for the 2020-21 Vikings that captured the 2021 WBI championship. An every-game starter that year, she averaged just over 25 minutes per game while connecting for 5.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals. Levy hit four three pointers, including the go-ahead shot, in a 76-73 win at Youngstown State on February 19, 2021, a game where CSU trailed by 18 points with 14 minutes remaining. She had six steals in a victory over Stetson in the WBI semifinals and had eight rebounds in the title game against Portland the next day.
Just when she started to come into her own as a college player, she injured her knee during the 2021-22 preseason and missed the entire year. After participating as much as she could with the Vikings off the court and earning her degree in psychology that spring, Levy announced her retirement from the sport – temporarily, as it turned out – in an Instagram post last May.
The 2023 NBL1 Central season begins on March 25th, with the Eastern Mavericks making their debut against South Adelaide. The regular season runs through mid-July before the conference playoffs and the national finals wrap up in early September. Last year’s national champions were the Warwick Senators, a team from NBL1 West.
All NBL1 games are streamed both through the league’s website and the NBL1 app.