GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Right after the pandemic hit in April of 2020, Sydney Levy decided to come back home.
After winning back-to-back high school state championships at Appleton North, Levy began her college career at UW-Milwaukee.
Two years later she decided it was time for a change, and Green Bay was the move.
"It's close to home for me," the Fox Valley native said. "I knew that the culture was really good. I had some past AAU teammates who played here who have spoken really highly of the program so it was an obvious choice for me once I got the offer."
Being closer to family - including a soon-to-be nine-year-old brother - played a big part in that decision, but her connection with longtime Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth didn't hurt either.
"I think the first time I ever visited Green Bay I was in seventh grade so it's been a while back," Levy laughed. "But I always knew before I even came here that coach was historic.
"He's known for how great of a coach he is and now I get to see it first hand."
"She's someone we wanted to recruit right out of the gate but Milwaukee got her earlier," Borseth said. "We had to play against her. I didn't like playing against her at all."
Now, they're working together, and Levy has forged a key role coming off the Phoenix bench. She is averaging more than seven points per game and leads the team in three-pointers made.
"She gets in the game and she has absolutely no fear," Borseth said. "None.
"She just is absolutely fearless when she plays."
She's become a valuable veteran presence on a roster that features 11 freshmen.
"I think we're young and some people can associate inexperience with ups and downs," Levy said. "But I really think our freshman came in super hungry and ready to work and I think that that shows."
Now in her fourth year playing college basketball, Levy has become a stabilizing force for that group of young players - and she could play a crucial role as Green Bay gears up for a tournament run.
"She's been around the block. She's seen all that. So when she gets into game scenarios she's pretty savvy," Borseth said. "Having her experience has been really a plus for us.
"It's been a thrill the last couple of years to be able to work with her," he added.
Green Bay, the No. 3 seed in the Horizon League tournament, hosts sixth-seeded Milwaukee Thursday night. The quarterfinal matchup is set to tip off at 7:00 p.m. at the Kress Center. The winner will advance to the Horizon League semifinals next week in Indianapolis.
The winner of the Horizon League Tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Green Bay hasn't qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2018, its longest drought since the 1990s.