Coach Jamie Beaudoin posts the daily practice plan for his University of Maine-Farming-ton women’s basketball team on the wall outside his office.
In his nine seasons, he has never found his players so keenly interested in which practice squad (White, Maroon or Black) one player — Erin Porter — is scheduled to be on.
“They actually vocalize, ‘oh, yes, Erin is on my team today!’ or ‘oh, no, I have to guard Erin today!’” Beaudoin said of the groupings, which change daily.
Porter, a senior from Bangor, didn’t arrive at UMF with a resume of all-state or all-conference honors. Instead, she has earned the respect of her teammates through her intensity and relentless work ethic.
“They don’t want to play against her [Porter] in practice, Beaudoin said. “She has grown a lot as a player, but she just continues to outwork people.”
The 5-foot-8 swing player has helped lead UMF to a 10-10 record and second place in the North Atlantic Conference standings at 8-2. The self-described basketball junkie has continued to develop her skills through her efforts in practice.
“Playing against tough competition in practice has been incredible in helping me become a rebounder and a scorer and better on defense,” Porter said. “I really enjoy it.”
Porter isn’t a flashy player who has always scored a lot of points, but her contributions are many. And because of her reserved demeanor, she has allowed her play speak for her.
“I’m a very quiet person and it was hard for me to catch attention in middle school and high school,” Porter said. “I had to become not loud, but more aggressive on the court.”
Porter has focused on doing the little things: Playing tenacious defense, rebounding, setting screens and hustling. She said she acquired her work ethic while at Bangor High School, where she played for veteran coach Tom Tennett.
“Statistically, you would not always notice her in a box score, but she was always in the position to make plays and she always worked hard to make those plays,” Beaudoin said of recruiting Porter.
Porter, a three-year starter, has developed into an impact player for the Beavers. She ranks second on the team with career bests in scoring (12.2 points per game), rebounding (5.8 rpg) and minutes played (29.6 mpg). She leads UMF in free-throw percentage (.821), 3-point percentage (.365) and blocked shots (13) and ranks second in steals (1.5 spg), field-goal percentage (.432) and minutes played (29.6 mpg).
“Her role is increased and her output has increased,” Beaudoin said. “Erin is one of the rare guards I’ve seen that has really improved their game.
“She’s just a quiet player and goes about her business and is a competitor at the same time.”
Porter, a member of UMF conference championship teams in 2006 and 2007, is versatile enough to play any position for the Beavers, depending on matchups.
“She scares the hell out of me,” said Maine Maritime Academy coach Craig Dagan.
“Erin can carry you in a lot of different ways,” he added. “She can score inside; she can score outside. She plays every phase of the game: Defense, rebounding, offense.”
Porter describes herself, ideally, as a “2½,” a hybrid shooting guard/small forward.
“I’ve had to step up to a bigger scoring role than I had to in previous years. That’s been a big adjustment,” she said.
As a team captain, the soft-spoken Porter tries to lead through her practice habits and her dedication to academics. Beaudoin said the elementary education major has a stellar 3.92 grade point average.
“She is very conscientious, a great student,” Beaudoin said of Porter, who also captains the Beavers’ softball team.
Porter developed a passion for the game in youth leagues and playing in the yard with her father, Greg Porter, a UMaine professor who also was a Beaver — at Washburn High School.
“My dad has always been a big inspiration to me,” she said. “He has always been the driving force behind [my] basketball.”
Porter hopes to teach fifth grade and plans to do her student teaching in Farmington next fall. She also would like to help Beaudoin next season as an assistant coach.
“I would love to end up a coach eventually,” said Porter who, in the meantime, is focused on helping UMF win another NAC championship.