Duke to retire Beard's No. 20

The hallowed rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium, previously home to the numbers of 11 of Duke's greatest male basketball players, will have to make room for a 12th jersey, as Alana Beard will become the first woman in school history to have her number retired prior to Saturday night's game against Tennessee.

"It is a blessing and honor to be the first women's player at Duke to have her jersey hung in the rafters in Cameron Indoor Stadium," Beard said. "To be considered one of the best to have played at Duke with all the great athletes who have come through this program over the years is truly amazing for my family and me."

In her three-plus seasons as a Blue Devil, Beard has rewritten both school and conference records. She ranks first among women's players at Duke in career points (2,311), field goals made (873), field goals attempted (1639), steals (368) and double-figure scoring games (111).

The Shreveport, La. native was the first freshman selected to the All-ACC team; she is the ACC career leader with 15 conference Player of the Week honors; and she will likely become the first player in ACC history to win conference Player of the Year three times at the end of this season.

"I think it is fitting that Alana have her jersey retired for everything she has done for this program," Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors said. "She has taken us to new heights and is one of the best women's basketball players ever to play the game."

Beard has also received numerous accolades on the national level throughout her storied career, as she was the consensus National Freshman of the Year in 2001 and has since been named a two-time Associated Press and Kodak All-American and the 2003 National Player of the Year.

Despite these honors, Beard has remained humble and unassuming, characteristics that have endeared her to her teammates and coach.

"All the records she has broken and the awards she has received along the way don't hold a candle to the type of person she is and the way she has represented our program," Goestenkors said. "She has given so much to Duke both on and off the court, and I am honored to have been able to coach Alana over the last four years."

The 5-foot-11 guard continues to make her mark during the 2003-2004 season, as she has led the top-ranked Blue Devils to a 14-1 record while averaging 19.7 points, 5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.

Beard's parents, LeRoy and Marie, will be in attendance for Saturday's ceremony to see their daughter's No. 20 join Dick Groat (10), Art Heyman (25), Jeff Mullins (44), Mike Gminski (43), Johny Dawkins (24), Danny Ferry (35), Christian Laettner (32), Bobby Hurley (11), Grant Hill (33), Shane Battier (31) and Jason Williams (22).

"This is a great step for women's basketball at Duke," Beard said. "And I hope to see more jerseys hung along with mine in the future."


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