Dara Pearson goes to the basket earlier this season. Photo by Chris Crews

While she excels on the court for the Charlotte Women’s basketball team, redshirt sophomore Dara Pearson has another passion: shoes.

But first, here’s where her shoes have taken her so far:

During her high school days at Hampton, Pearson averaged a triple-double her senior season and surpassed the 1,000 point milestone the January of her senior season. While defensive play was still her roots, she filled the role of an offensive player to fill voids on the team.

“I know, for my team to win in high school, I had to score – so that’s what I did. In high school my role used to be defense. My senior year I had to step up since a lot of the players left, and score,” Pearson said.

Upon coming to Charlotte, Pearson redshirted her first year on campus, which helped her “learn the system” and “get stronger” Pearson said.

Her first year on the court, Pearson played all but one game. This year, she has been a dominant force for the 49ers, returning to her defensive roots. Currently she is eighth in Conference USA for rebounds, totaling 153 on the season, including a collecting 19 boards against Arkansas.

“I like defense more, I’m better at defense,” Pearson said. “Defense is more of my comfort zone, I think offense is kind of overrated. Anybody can score, but everybody can’t necessarily defend.”

This season she averages over 30 minutes per game

“It feels good, I’ve been waiting for this moment to play more minutes and it’s finally here. I’ve just got to keep being consistent so I can keep playing on the court,” Pearson said.

With a roster packed with new-comers this season, Pearson said the group is now like a family.

“We get along pretty well, I see all of us as sisters, because we argue like sisters all the time, we joke around,” Pearson said.

This chemistry can be seen on the court because “it’s easier to talk to somebody that you like,” Pearson said.

When asked what her goal was for the team before she graduate, Pearson said she wanted to win a conference championship and make an appearance in the NCAA tournament. As for her goals off the court, Pearson is currently working towards her economics degree and someday hopes to own her own shoe store.

The 6-foot-3, size 11 shoe wearer wants to open a store that caters to women with larger feet.

“The market for girly women who wear size ten and up, it’s hard to find nice shoes. I like to get dressed up all the time, I like to have my heels. I also like my sneakers too. I want to give women the opportunity to have the best of both worlds,” Pearson said.

Her shoe interest began when she first came to college.

“I started being more confident with my height. Now I wear heels more often because I’m hanging around taller girls more I guess with basketball. That’s when I started thinking about it,” Pearson said.

She aims to start the store on the local level, but hopefully one day it will expand to a chain store. As for a name, right now Pearson is thinking about calling the store “Rock the Boat” because “people always say your feet are boats.”

Pearson has already decided the store will only offer women’s shoes because “guys always find shoes.”

Kathleen Cook is the sports editor of the Niner Times and from Wake Forest, North Carolina. When the junior communication major/journalism minor isn't covering the 49ers, she enjoys spending time with her family, friend, and dog. Kathleen can also be found cheering on the Panthers every Sunday and rooting for the Washington Nationals.