A Nebraska roster completely devoid of Australians in 2018 is now set to feature two in 2020, with South Australian starlet Ruby Porter announcing her commitment to the Cornhuskers.
With Under 19 national team star Isabelle Bourne already on the roster, the Big Ten school are slowly but surely building a pipeline to Australia.
Like Bourne, Porter has represented Australia on the world stage, featuring as a member of the 2018 Under 17 World Cup team. The 5’10 wing saw brief cameos in six of the seven games in that tournament, tallying 2.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per contest as the Sapphires backed up 2016’s gold with bronze in 2018. Astonishingly, Porter becomes the tenth member of that squad to announce her decision to play in college, with only Shyla Heal opting to take the professional route at home to this point.
However, that is not the only bronze medal that Porter has picked up representing her country. The South Australian also secured a spot on the podium in the Youth Olympics 3x3 competition in 2018, alongside fellow college commits Alexandra Fowler (Portland), Suzi-Rose Deegan (Davidson), and Sara-Rose Smith (Missouri). Coming into the tournament ranked 28th in the world, the Australian team fell to an overtime defeat to France in the semi-final, before bouncing back to win bronze against China. After hitting the shot to send the semi-final into overtime, Porter top-scored for Australia in the bronze medal game, hitting scoring form at the perfect time to help her team to a medal.
More recently, Porter formed part of dynamic big three for South Australia at Under 20 Australian Junior Championships alongside Bowling Green freshman Elissa Brett and Clemson first-year Hannah Hank. Porter would finish the tournament sixth in average scoring as South Australia finished just shy of a medal after falling to Porter's 3x3 teammate Suzi-Rose Deegan and Western Australia in a thriller in the bronze medal game.
Whilst Porter is only the second Australian to join Nebraska since coach Amy Williams took over in 2016, the newest Cornhusker commit will be just the latest in a growing line of Australians that Williams has coached. Opals point guard Nicole Seekamp and fellow South Australian Jasmine Trimboli both played under Williams at South Dakota, with Seekamp securing MVP of the WNIT as the Coyotes lifted the trophy in 2016. With the entire coaching staff moving to Nebraska alongside Williams, they certainly have experience and plenty of success working with Australians in the past.
Intriguingly, with the Cornhuskers set to lose four seniors to graduation following the 2019/20 season, Porter may find opportunities opening up for herself sooner rather than later. The South Australian is now just the second player in Nebraska’s recruiting class for 2020, with 6’3 forward Annika Stewart the lone local player to commit to this point.