Alex LaPorta signs to play professional basketball in Europe
University of Missouri–St. Louis women’s basketball standout Alex LaPorta has signed to play the 2022-23 season with Basketball Academie Limburg, commonly known as BAL, in the Dutch Women’s Basketball League.
“I’ve always wanted to live in Europe,” LaPorta said. “This is a great opportunity and time for me to explore other cultures, and basketball has given me that chance. I’m excited to get over there to start my professional career.”
LaPorta, who graduated in May with an MBA after previously earning a bachelor’s degree and an Honors College certificate, developed into a leader and a star forward during her five years with the Tritons.
She is a two-time first-team All-GLVC selection and the program leader in rebounds with 1,130, free throws made with 324 and free throws attempted with 475. She’s also second all-time in steals with 205, assists with 427 and is third in scoring with 1,570 points.
As a freshman, LaPorta mostly served as a role player during the Tritons’ successful 2017-18 season but still managed to shine, setting a freshman rebounding record by snagging 236 boards.
The Tritons then entered a development period during the next two seasons. A core group of freshmen joined the team when LaPorta was a sophomore, and together they helped the program grow.
During a shortened 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LaPorta made the best out of a difficult situation. She scored her 1,000th career point in a win over William Jewell and earned first-team All-GLVC and honorable mention All-American honors. After the NCAA announced it would grant a fifth year of eligibility, she and her fellow seniors made the opportunity count.
LaPorta helped lead UMSL to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013-14 this past season and a school-record 23 wins. She averaged 11.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists during the team’s unprecedented run. Her 113 assists were tops in the league while her 3.9 assists per game were second best in the conference.
“This final year, we had the best season in program history, so it was like the perfect ending to my career,” LaPorta said. “It just all came together perfectly.”
After graduation, she signed with an agent and began pursuing her goal of playing professionally.
“I am ecstatic and so proud of Alex,” UMSL women’s basketball Coach Katie Vaughn said. “Playing overseas and traveling has always been a goal of Alex’s. She has been so dedicated to this program for the past five years, and I could not want this more for her. She has been a rock for this program and has proven that at UMSL the opportunities are endless. The sky is the limit for Alex, and we wish her all the best.”
The WBL is the highest level of women’s basketball in the Netherlands and has been in existence since 1949-50. The league currently has nine members but is adding BAL as its 10th member for the upcoming season.
BAL is based in Weert in the province of Limburg. The club was founded in 2013 as an academy to develop youth players from the province of Limburg. The club entered the Dutch Basketball League for the 2017-18 season after the dissolution of the professional team Basketball Stars Weert (BSW). In 2021, BAL won its first-ever trophy when it won the Dutch Basketball Cup after being ranked eighth in the league during the season. This will be the team’s first professional season.
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