Click here to e-mail
Amanda Levens begins her fourth season as SIUE's head women's basketball coach. Levens and her Cougars have a full slate of Ohio Valley Conference games to contend with this season after posting an 11-19 record a season ago. SIUE was 6-6 against OVC teams last season which would have placed the Cougars firmly in the league's 2011 postseason tournament. Freshman Jazmin Hill led the team in scoring with 12.9 points per game and set a rookie record for three-pointers with 74. Levens guided the Cougars to an 8-21 mark in 2009-2010. The Cougars opened the season by defeating Morehead State, the OVC's preseason favorite. Her team went on to defeat four postseason teams during the course of the season. The 2009-10 season also saw the emergence of Raven Berry as a standout center. The first team All-Independent player became the first freshman in school history to lead the Cougars in scoring and rebounding at 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore Melia Duncan also became an outside threat with 11.3 points per game while recording a team-leading 52 three-pointers. SIUE finished with a 5-24 record in its historic first season at the Division I level. Levens' Cougars notched the program's first victory over a true Division I team in January, defeating Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Kentucky 54-44 at the Vadalabene Center. Levens also coached seniors Jenny Wuest, Jessie Stapleton, and junior Ashley Bey to standout seasons. Wuest led the 2008-09 team in scoring with an average of 12.2 points a game, despite not having played college basketball for two seasons. Wuest was honored with an Honorable Mention selection to the All-Independent team. Stapleton led the team in rebounds averaging 7.8 a game, despite being outsized by most of her opponents. Bey broke the school record in steals with 112. Levens was named the fourth women's head basketball coach in school history prior to the 2008-09 season. She was charged with developing a women's basketball program that reflected SIUE's commitment to excellence, academic integrity, service to the community and commitment to all students, all while tackling the challenges involved in transitioning to Division I play. At 31, Levens was one of the youngest head coaches at the NCAA Division I level when the Cougars began play as a Division I program in 2008. Only two other coaches at the NCAA Division I level were younger. Before coming to SIUE, Levens was an assistant coach at the University of Nevada-Reno. Regarded as one of the top young assistant coaches in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) during her time at Nevada, Levens was part of the Nevada coaching staff just one year after completing her bachelor of arts degree in history at Arizona State University in 2002. Levens completed her master's in higher education administration from Nevada-Reno in 2007. As a coach, she recruited a WAC Newcomer of the Year, a junior college All-American and four members of the WAC All-Freshmen team. In five seasons, she helped develop 16 players who earned All-WAC Academic Honors. In 2007, Nevada made its first-ever postseason appearance at the Women's National Invitational Tournament. Levens was involved in every facet of the Nevada basketball staff under Head Coach Kim Gervasoni. Her duties were varied including academics, recruiting, scouting, game preparation, fundraising, player development, and community outreach. As a player, Levens was deemed as "one of the best players in the Arizona State women's basketball history," according to the Sun Devils' Web site. She spent two seasons at Arizona State where she was twice named first team All-PAC -10 and led the Sun Devils to a spot in the NCAA Tournament. She was an Associated Press honorable mention All-American in 2002. Levens held records for most three-pointers in 2001 with 60. In her collegiate career Levens totaled 1,322 points (an average of 10.6 points per game), 310 rebounds, 332 assists, and 99 steals. She spent her first two collegiate seasons at Old Dominion where she twice helped the Monarchs to two NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearances. Levens signed a free agent contract with the Charlotte Sting of the WNBA in April of 2002. Her ties to the Midwest are very strong. She was a three-time All-State selection at Belvidere High School in northern Illinois. In the fall of 2000, she was named to the All-Century Girls' team by the Rockford Register-Star. Levens had her No. 11 jersey retired by Belvidere in 2010.