DURHAM, N.C. – One of the top defenders in the WNBA since her selection in 2004, Duke University alumna Alana Beard was rewarded with her efforts as she was named the Associated Press WNBA Defensive Player of the Year this week.
Beard, a 2004 Duke alumna and current member of the Los Angeles Sparks, led the WNBA with a 2.1 steals per game average and helped pace the Sparks the second-fewest points allowed in the league at a 75.2 per game clip in 2017.
A six-time WNBA All-Defensive Team selection, Beard helped Los Angeles to a 26-8 overall record and the No. 2 seed in the WNBA playoffs, which kick off Wednesday, Sept. 6. Beard averaged 6.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 steals as she started all 34 games. She has started 30 or more games in 11 of her 12 seasons.
At Duke, Beard was a four-time All-ACC Defensive Team selection and collected a school-record 404 career steals.
Los Angeles will open the playoffs Sept. 12 live on ESPN2 at 10 p.m.