‘About the fight’: One Mountaineer’s leadership and success

Alex McCaskey, Reporter

After five seasons of college basketball and three seasons with the Mountaineers, one player leaves a legacy, emerging as a team leader and nominee for many accolades.

Senior forward Michaela Porter dribbles the ball down the court during the last home game of the season against South Alabama Feb. 26, 2022. (Haley Smart)

Fifth-year senior forward Michaela Porter began playing basketball when she was in elementary school. Her start in basketball came with the developmental league her father ran on Mondays and Wednesdays, but prior to playing basketball, she competed in cheerleading and other sports.

Porter has been a Mountaineer for the past three seasons and just completed her fifth season of college basketball after the NCAA granted student-athletes a year of eligibility in response to the pandemic. Before transferring to App State, she attended The University of Cincinnati for two years. While looking at schools to transfer to, she received a call from assistant coach Sam Pierce Jr., who previously recruited her in high school.

“Once he called, and I came up on a visit, I just felt very comfortable at App,” Porter said.

In the 2019-20 season, Porter’s first with the program, she scored 119 points, with a season-high of 17 coming against the University of Louisiana Monroe Feb. 29, 2020. She also led the team in bench scoring, contributing 5.1 points per game in conference games. 

In her second season with the team, she doubled her points per game average from 4.1 to 8.7 and swiped 53 steals on the season, which led the team. Porter was nominated for the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year in the 2020-2021 season. 

As a fifth-year senior, Porter averaged 12.6 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 37% from the floor. She also led the team in steals with 61 and was second on the team in rebounds with 166.

“App women’s basketball is about the fight. We are going to play hard. We’re going to fight the whole game, and we’re never going to give up,” Porter said.

Senior forward Michaela Porter leaps into the air as she celebrates with her teammates Feb. 26, 2022. (Travis Holshouser)

Porter has many best moments from her time at App State, both on and off the court. She said some of her favorite memories were meeting donors and fans in the student section. Porter also said she enjoyed visiting one of the waterfalls around Boone.

“I feel like those are a few of my best memories, just meeting the people who support us,” Porter said.

In her time with the program, Porter has emerged as a leader on the team. She credits the leaders who helped her during her time at App State and said she wants to invest in younger players on the team, whether answering questions during the game or being available if a teammate calls.

“She is very much our leader and our heartbeat of our team,” said head coach Angel Elderkin.

In three years with the Mountaineers, Porter played in 84 games while starting 55. Porter scored 706 points, grabbed 434 rebounds and dished out 104 assists and was nominated for the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year once. 

“I had great leaders along the way, so I just wanted to give back and pay it forward to those who are next up,” Porter said.