Dec 12, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Dyana Pierre is like Clark Kent.
Much like Superman's alter ego, she is quiet, reserved and unassuming off the court. She's quick to share a laugh with teammates, but tries not to stand out too much.
Once she pulls on her uniform and steps foot on the hardwood, however, Pierre transforms. She sets aside that low-key personality and turns into a 6-foot-2 rebounding machine.
"Nobody believes that's me on the floor because of how quiet and laid back I am off the court," Pierre said.
Through last week's games, Pierre is averaging 11.0 rebounds per game, which leads the MVC and is tied for 19th nationally. She has already had three games of 15-plus rebounds, including a 19-rebound outing against IPFW.
"Rebounding is just something instinctual that she has," said SIU head coach Missy Tiber. "She just has a knack for the basketball."
Pierre said her rebounding philosophy is simple.
"I assume every shot is a miss," Pierre said. "I go after every shot, whether it goes in or not."
Tiber said Pierre has always stood out among her peers on the basketball court. When the Saluki coach recruited Pierre out of Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce, Fla., Tiber said her combination of size and skill set her apart.
Dyana Pierre is averaging 11.0 rebounds per game.
"She was just so much bigger and stronger than everyone else and was very skilled," Tiber said. "But it wasn't just her size. She's not a banger. She's got a little bit of guard skill to her game, too. She's a little bit of a finesse player."
Pierre was supposed to be a piece of SIU's highly touted 2011 recruiting class, but suffered a setback when she tore her ACL during a preseason open gym last year.
"That was just so disappointing for everyone, especially her," Tiber said. "Just having that true post player in the lane that can get rebounds at ease, it just set the program back a whole year. The things she is doing now are great, but she would be so much more advanced had she been playing a year ago."
The redshirt-freshman had another scare early this season when she tweaked her opposite knee during practice. This time, it turned out to be a less-severe meniscus tear that she can play through.
"I put heat on it before the game and take an Aleve," Pierre said. "During the game, I don't feel it at all."
Even with a torn meniscus, Pierre has proven to be a crucial addition to the Saluki frontcourt, especially after an injury to sophomore center Alexus Patterson. Pierre was inserted into the starting lineup against Florida Atlantic, the game after Patterson went down, and finished with nine points and 15 boards against the Owls.
Pierre has started and posted double-digit rebound totals in each game since being inserted into the starting lineup. She is averaging an astounding 14.4 rebounds over the last six games.
As much as she brings to the team in terms of her rebounding, Tiber said Pierre has even more to offer the team offensively. Thus far, she averages 8.8 points per game, but Tiber said that number should grow as time goes on.
"I want her to be a double-double kid every night," Tiber said. "If she can get 15 rebounds a night, she should be able to get 15 points a night, too."