HUNTINGTON, W.Va. Former Lawrence Co. Lady Bulldog and current Marshall Women’s Basketball Senior Taylor Porter is on her last leg of her college career and her motto has always been just ‘go out out there and play’.
On Thursday afternoon Porter played her final regular season home game at the Cam Henderson center and she was lights out in front of at least 30 friends and family members as she poured in a career high 30 points and set a Marshall single game record with 10 three pointers made as the Thundering Herd improved to 16-13 overall and 10-6 in Conference USA with a 87-42 rout of Florida International. Porter was 10-12 from three point distance and 10-14 overall, she also collected 7 rebounds along with 3 steals in 30 minutes of action.
For the 5-foot-8 Louisa native it all started in Fort Gay as a 5 year old and then she moved across the bridge to Kentucky in the sixth grade. She developed into a high school star in four seasons at Lawrence County.
* She eclipsed 1,000 career points as a junior and averaged 25.3 points as a senior, the third-highest in Kentucky.
* She was a first team all-state selection, and started her collegiate career at Murray State.
* She was an Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer in 2013-14 before transferring to Marshall.
Porter turned 24 on March 3, and her maturation on and off the court is evident.
She has 772 points in three seasons here – more than 1,000 when the one season at Murray State is added – and is seventh on the MU career 3-pointers list with 119.
But her individual accomplishments pale in comparison to what she has given to the program. Porter is a foundational piece for Marshall Head Coach Tony Kemper, who has watched his team go from cellar dweller to upper half of the league in one season.
“Her competitive fire will be missed,” Kemper said.
Porter said that edge has been there since she began honing her skills on the court. Her father placed a glass background hoop at home, and she’d spend hours shooting in her concrete driveway. When her parents tried to call her in after dark, Porter pointed to the light above the basket.”
“This week has been really emotional because it’s all coming to an end,” said Porter, who is an aspiring nurse. “Basketball has been my life for 20 years. This is sad and bittersweet, but I’m proud of my team for putting us in a position to play after senior night.”
Porter is quick to credit others. One of those people is her daughter, Storm Asher, who was born Nov. 14, 2017. Porter missed the 2017-18 season for Storm’s birth, and worked to come back for one more season.
“When I had her it mellowed me out,” Porter said. “I focus on the right things and let everything else go.”
“ Her daughter is proof there’s a softer, gentler person underneath her on-court persona. There was a time when Porter was playing basketball in Lawrence County and she coveted the jersey number 22, but an older girl already had that uniform. Porter thought she would compromise, and chose No. 11.
“They said that uniform wasn’t available,” Porter said.
A 12-year-old girl from Fallsburg, who was a seventh grade student at Louisa Middle School and a promising basketball player Storm Cassady, died on Sept. 4, 2001 in a tragic accident. Cassady wore No. 11, and while the uniform was not officially retired, coaches did not allow others to wear that number. When Porter arrived at Marshall, she requested No. 11 in remembrance of Storm Cassady.
When Porter had a daughter of her own, the first name was an easy choice.
“That’s the type of person she is,” Kemper said. “She’s thoughtful, loyal and once she’s in your corner, she’s not going to leave.”
“Our team played well tonight and played hard. I thought we did a better job on the glass in the early part of the game. We boxed out and held them to one shot and were off to the races.”