Los Angeles Sparks guard/forward Alana Beard has been named the 2018 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the WNBA announced today. Beard earned the honor for the second consecutive season, becoming the fifth player in league history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
Beard received 16 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters. Three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx finished second with nine votes. Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream finished third with four votes, while Jessica Breland of Atlanta and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury finished tied for fourth with two votes apiece.
Beard’s 1.47 steals per game ranked fourth in the WNBA and helped the Sparks pace the league in steals (7.94 spg) and points allowed (77.0 ppg). Los Angeles also ranked second in opponents’ turnovers per game (14.97) and defensive rating (98.7 points per 100 possessions).
For the season, Beard averaged 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 40.0 percent from three-point range. Her contributions helped the Sparks (19-15) make the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season.
Beard, an eight-time WNBA All-Defensive Team selection, was the second overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft and played six seasons for the Washington Mystics before joining the Sparks in 2012. The former Duke standout ranks third on the WNBA’s all-time steals list with 698, tops among active players.
In honor of being named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Beard will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.
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