Pierson: Beyond the Gameface
No one can mistake Plenette Pierson's game face. It's strong and serious. And for those that don't know the WNBA veteran, it's downright intimidating.
An original "bad girl" who played during Detroit's Bill Laimbeer-era, Pierson has been misunderstood much of her career. But what most people don't realize is that underneath the steely guise is plenty that makes Ms. Pierson smile. Passion is all this "bad girl" knows.
Growing up in Texas with brothers and plenty of boy cousins around, Pierson learned to toughen up at a young age. As the only girl, if she wanted to play, she had to play hard, and sometimes that meant earning a couple bruises. But she never backed down, and it made her stronger. It made her the leader she is today.
Now the oldest on the New York Liberty roster, Pierson has become a mother figure to the team, with many rookies calling her "momma" and even "granny.” When asked if she liked it, she responded seriously, "No, I don't like it...I'm not even thirty-years old yet!" But then a little smirk comes over her face, as if to say, "I get it. And I know what my role is here."
Pierson is a potential WNBA 2011 Eastern Conference All-Star, which would be the first nod in her nine year career. Coming into this season, the Liberty forward admits she was nervous - nervous about a new coach, new players, and an entirely new system. But since training camp, Pierson has emerged as one of the rocks of this year's squad, anchoring Coach Whiz's "White Line" defense, while averaging 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
But her success on the court doesn't mean the Texas Tech grad doesn't get stressed. It's how she handles the stress that might come as a surprise...
During my sit down with Pierson at the Libs training facility, Kia Vaughn came out of the locker room holding tight to a tupperware container with a huge smile on her face. The coveted contents??? Homemade peach cobbler made by #33 herself.
Pierson says baking is therapeutic for her. She sometimes bakes at 2am if she can't sleep, or in the middle of the day after a hard practice. Her pastry resume is impressive boasting a solid list of tasty treats, and the demands are getting serious.
Word of Pierson's culinary talents have spread with the team putting requests in on a regular basis. The 2007 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year generally obliges, but she does it on her own time. As it is on the court in the paint, it's the same in the kitchen - nobody pushes Plenette Pierson around.
That is, except maybe her two loves – her Chihuahuas, Kaizer and Kylie. The 29-year-old baller lights up when talking about her "babies"...telling me about their extensive wardrobes and doggy day care, when she's traveling.
This is the Plenette Pierson most people never get to see.