All-star game is special for veterans and first-time participants Pierson, Coleman, Bonner and Lavender

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Approximately one-third of the players in the 2015 WNBA All-star game are first time participants. As so-called young guns take a bigger place in the success of WNBA teams, it is not surprising to see second-year players like San Antonio’s Kayla McBride plus Washington’s Stefanie Dolson and Emma Meesseman make their first appearances.

However, this year there are several veteran players, who may not have ever thought they would get this chance with the time they have already spent in the league.

The senior member is Tulsa Shock forward Plenette Pierson, a two-time WNBA champion and third choice in the WNBA draft back in 2003. Pierson has always been known as a do-what-it-takes-to-win player, not one often recognized for individual statistics. However, her 12.9 points per game,and veteran leadership have helped keep the Shock afloat in the West despite injuries.

“This year everything is really coming together for me,” Pierson said, “Offensively, defensively. My coaching staff and teammates have a lot of confidence in me. That makes it really easy for that side of me to come out.”

Marissa Coleman entered the league in 2009, as the number two overall pick, but it took until 2015 for her to make the All-star team.

“I get to play with great players, and it’s pretty special to be here with my teammate Tamika Catchings, especially with this being her last All-star game,” Coleman commented. “I’m just going to try to soak up the entire experience.”

DeWanna Bonner also has championship rings, but this is her first all-star game since entering the WNBA in 2009. Bonner is enjoying the surrounding activities, while looking forward to the game.

“This is my first All-star experience,” Bonner explained, “so I’ve just been sitting back and taking it all in. Hopefully it will be a lot of fun besides the game.”

Jantel Lavender joins teammate Nneka Ogwumike on the Western roster, but while Ogwumike has been an All-star every year since entering the league, Lavender makes her debut.

“I’ve been working so hard and this is [one of my] ultimate goals,” the Sparks center said. “Just to be amongst these players, the best in the league is amazing. I’m happy and grateful.”

Lavender said the game should be about having fun; both the players and the fans.

“I think the main thing people need to remember; this is supposed to be fun,” according to Lavender.

Pierson though, emphasized that she will be trying to with the game.

“That’s what an All-star game is all about, having fun but also trying to win because we’re all competitors. We want to represent for our conference,” she said.

From the competitive Pierson, would you expect anything less?

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