|Position Guard / Forward|
Listed weight 160 lb (73 kg)
Education Duke University
Height 1.8 m
Role Basketball player
Name Alana Beard
Parents LeRoy Beard, Marie Beard
|Born May 14, 1982 (age 33)
Shreveport, Louisiana (1982-05-14) |
High school Southwood (Shreveport, Louisiana)
Current team Los Angeles Sparks (#0 / Small forward, Swingman)
Siblings LeRoy Beard Jr., Megan Beard
Similar People Kristi Toliver, Nneka Ogwumike, Lindsey Harding, Jantel Lavender, Temeka Johnson
Listed height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
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Alana Monique Beard (born May 14, 1982) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
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- Early years
- High school
- Duke statistics
- WNBA career
- Overseas career
- USA Basketball
- Off the court
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Beard was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on May 14, 1982 to LeRoy and Marie Beard.
Beard played for Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she led her team to four consecutive state titles. The team compiled a record of 144–6 while she was on the team. She scored 2,646 points during her four years, and finished her high school career with 53 consecutive victories. Beard was named a WBCA All-American. She participated in the 2000 WBCA High School All-America Game, where she scored fifteen points.
Coach Gail Goestenkors, then at Duke University, successfully recruited Beard. During her four years, she set a school scoring record of 2,687 points. Beard is the first NCAA basketball player to amass over 2,600 points, 500 assist and 400 steals. During the four years Beard played for Duke, the team won four regular season and tournaments championships. Beard helped Duke reach the Final Four twice in her career. In her senior year, the team achieved the first ever number one ranking in the final AP poll of the year.
Beard was drafted in 2004 with the 2nd overall pick by the Washington Mystics. In her rookie season, she immediately became a starter and helped lead the Mystics to the playoffs, despite the loss of star Chamique Holdsclaw halfway through the season. They lost to the Connecticut Sun in the first round of the playoffs 2-1.
In her second season, Beard was named a WNBA All-Star for the first time in her career, while averaging 14.1 ppg, but the Mystics never made the playoffs.
Beard had the best year of her career in the 2006 season, averaging a career-high 19.2 ppg, shooting nearly 50% from the field and was once again named a WNBA All-Star. Her season performance, led the Mystics to a playoff berth but were eliminated yet again by Connecticut in the first round in a 2-game sweep.
The 2009 season would be Beard's final year playing with the Mystics. Following the 2009 season, Beard sat out two consecutive seasons, she missed the 2010 season after undergoing surgery to repair an ankle tendon and sat out the 2011 season with a foot injury.
After recovering from back-to-back season ending injuries, Beard signed with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2012 during free agency. Beard played the shooting guard in the Sparks's starting lineup. With a supporting cast of Candace Parker, Kristi Toliver and Nneka Ogwumike, the Sparks made it back to the playoffs for the first time in 2 years with Beard's contributions as the Sparks finished second in the Western Conference with a 24-10 record. She averaged 11.4 ppg in 33 games while shooting a career-high in 3-point field goal percentage. The Sparks made it to the second round but were swept 2-0 by the Minnesota Lynx.
Prior to the 2015 season, Beard re-signed with the Sparks in free agency. During the 2015 season, Beard missed the first two months with plantar fasciitis. She played 14 games with 11 starts, averaging 7.8 ppg after recovery. By this time, Beard had already transitioned into playing the small forward in the Sparks's starting lineup. The Sparks still made it to the playoffs but lost 2-1 in the first round by the Minnesota Lynx, who won the championship that year.
In the 2016 season, Beard would be fully healthy, playing and starting in all 34 games, averaging 7.1 ppg. With the all-star trio of Parker, Toliver and Ogwumike, the Sparks were a championship contender and finished with a 26-8 record. With the WNBA's new playoff format in effect, the Sparks were the number 2 seed in the league with a double-bye to the semi-finals (the last round before the WNBA Finals) facing the Chicago Sky. The Sparks defeated the Sky 3-1 in the series, advancing to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2003. In the WNBA Finals, it was the second time in league history where two teams from the same conference faced each other in the Finals due to the new playoff format, as they faced the championship-defending Minnesota Lynx. It would be Beard's first career finals appearance and one of the most memorable highlights of the series was in Game 1 where Beard made a game-winning jump shot at the buzzer to give the Sparks a 1-0 lead. The Sparks would go on to win the series in five games, clinching the 2016 WNBA Championship and Beard winning her first career championship.
In February 2017, Beard re-signed once again with the Sparks in free agency. During the 2017 season, Beard would once again start in 34 games for the second consecutive season, averaging 6.9 ppg, achieved a career-high in field goal shooting percentage and also led the league in steals, helping the Sparks to 26-8 record and the number 2 seed in the league. In September 2017, the WNBA announced that Beard won the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award, becoming only the second Sparks player after Lisa Leslie to do so. The Sparks would go on to advance to the Finals for the second season in a row, after defeating the Phoenix Mercury in a 3-game sweep, setting up a rematch with the Lynx.
Beard's first overseas stint was in the 2005-06 off-season when she played in South Korea for the Shinsegae Coolcat. Beard played in Israel for Elitzur Ramla during the 2006-07 off-season. In the 2008-09 offseason, Beard played in Poland for Lotos VBW Clima Gdynia. In the 2011-12 off-season, Beard played once again in Israel for Elitzur Ramla. In the 2012-13 off-season she played in Poland for Wisla Can-Pack Kraków. In the 2015-16 off-season, Beard played in Spain for Perfumerias Avenida.
Beard was a member of the USA Women's U18 team which won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. The event was held in July 2000, when the USA team defeated Cuba to win the championship. Beard helped the team the gold medal, starting all five games and leading all scorers with 15.4 points per game. She was the leading scorer in the opening game against Puerto Rico with 23 points (tied with Aminata Yanni) and the leading scorer against Argentina with 24 points.
She continued as a member of the team which went on to the World Championships in Brno, Czech Republic. Beard was the second leading scorer for the USA team (behind Diana Taurasi) with 18.0 points per game. That scoring placed her fifth among all participants. She helped the team win the bronze medal.
Off the court
In 2004, Beard started the Alana Beard Foundation a nonprofit organization that sponsors female AAU basketball teams, aiding young women with the necessary resources to achieve success on or off court. The foundation currently sponsors seven female AAU basketball teams. Six of the teams are located in Maryland called Alana Beard's Future and one in her hometown Shreveport, Louisiana called the Southern Mystics.