The Maneater

Cierra Porter to make midseason return to Missouri women's basketball

Cierra Porter to make midseason return to Missouri women's basketball

Missouri forward Cierra Porter, 4, extends to steal the loose ball in a game against Auburn last season.

Veteran forward Cierra Porter will return to Missouri women's basketball for the remainder of the 2018-19 season, the team announced Saturday.

After spending her freshman through junior years with the Tigers, Porter is returning from medical retirement to rejoin the active roster. She will be available to play when the Tigers (10-3) host Arkansas State on Dec. 30 at Mizzou Arena.

Porter, who will sport No. 21, the same as she previously wore for Mizzou, has long suffered from pain in her left knee after tearing her ACL in middle school. She announced her retirement in June after graduating MU, but now appears ready to both return to school and give basketball another shot.

The rare midseason pickup comes at a critical time for Missouri. The Tigers have had a notable lack of size and post presence all season, and Porter figures to fill both of those gaps.

Mizzou has struggled to put away inferior teams this campaign, and suffered its first two nonconference home losses since 2011. On Dec. 24, it dropped out of AP poll voting for the first time since Feb. 2017.

Porter averaged 7.0 rebounds per game over the first three years of her college career. Only Amber Smith has rebounded at a higher clip for Missouri so far this season. At 6-foot-4, Porter will also be Missouri's tallest active player.

"We are obviously very excited to welcome Cierra back," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said in a press release. "She has had a very successful three years here, she brings great experience and adds much needed depth to our post position.”

Pingeton is also Porter's aunt. Cierra is one of the four Porter siblings to have played basketball for Missouri. Her brothers, Michael and Jontay, as well as her older sister, Bri, all missed significant time during their careers because of injuries. Jontay and Bri share Cierra's history of ACL issues.

According to the Kansas City Star, Cierra has been based in Colorado over the past months working for the agency that represents her brother, Michael, in the NBA.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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