COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri women’s basketball forward Cierra Porter will medically retire, the athletic department announced in a Friday press release.
Tigers coach Robin Pingeton had said at a Mizzou Coaches Caravan stop May 1 in Mendon that Porter had been contemplating the move.
Porter tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in eighth grade and suffers from early-onset arthritis in the joint, which causes bone-on-bone friction and swelling after games and practices. Pingeton, who is also Porter’s aunt, said at the time that there was a concern that another season could affect Porter’s quality of life down the road.
Porter has completed her graduation requirements and will pursue opportunities outside of basketball.
“I have memories that I will carry with me forever,” Porter said in the release. “Now that I have my degree, I have decided to shift my focus toward my future quality of life, and that means saying goodbye to the sport I love. While it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, I’m excited for what God has planned for my life moving forward.”
Porter joined the program in 2015 after a standout high school career at Columbia Rock Bridge. Over three seasons, Porter has played in 94 of Missouri’s 97 games while averaging 25.6 minutes, 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds.
She earned All-SEC Freshman Team honors in 2015-16 after collecting 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Porter ranks seventh all-time in program history with a .793 free-throw percentage, seventh with a 7.0 career rebounding average and ninth with 141 made free throws made in a season (2016-17).
Porter’s numbers regressed in her junior season, when she played fewer minutes (24.4 down from 29.5), scored fewer points (9.8 down from 13.2), grabbed fewer rebounds (7.6 down from 8.1) and shot worse from the 3-point line (25.0 percent down from 34.8 percent) and free-throw line (77.5 percent down from 81.0 percent).
And her efficiency dipped sharply over the last month of the season. In the Tigers’ last five games, Porter averaged 8.1 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from the field.
“Cierra has been a vital member of our program for the past three years, and we can’t thank her enough for her contributions,” Pingeton said in the release. “This was obviously a very difficult decision for Cierra, but one that we fully support. Cierra has played through much pain with ongoing knee issues over the last several years, and there comes a point where you have to put long term quality of life ahead of everything else.”
Cierra will be the third member of the Porter family to step away from the Tigers in the past two years.
Cierra’s older sister, Bri Porter, medically retired before the 2016-17 season after tearing the ACL in her left knee for a fifth time. She spent the past season as a de facto assistant coach, leading her teammates from the bench.
On the men’s team, Michael Porter Jr. played in only a handful of games this past season before declaring for the NBA draft. Younger brother Jontay Porter attended the draft combine but announced this week that he will return for his sophomore season.