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Alana Beard named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for 2017

On Tuesday, the WNBA announced that Los Angeles Sparks guard/forward Alana Beard has been voted as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. This is the first time Beard has won the award since she entered the WNBA in 2004 and she is now the second Spark to earn the honor since Lisa Leslie (2004, 2008).

In the 2017 regular season, Beard had the most steals of all the players in the WNBA, averaging 2.09 steals per game. The 35-year-old has also started all 34 games for the Sparks as it fights for another league championship crown. With Beard’s help, LA has had one of the best defenses on court, leading the league in steals (9.29 per game) and turnovers (16.4 per game). The Sparks has also ranked second in defensive rating with 96.0 points per 100 possessions and and average of 75.2 points per game allowed.

As for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, Beard’s performance all season earned her 28 out of 40 votes from journalists who cover the league. Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx finished second while Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury ended up in third.

[More from Excelle Sports: Excelle Talks Basketball Podcast: WNBA Semifinals Preview]

The league also announced the first and second all-defensive teams for this season as follows:

First Team:

Player Team Position Points

Alana Beard (Los Angeles Sparks)

Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx)

Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks)

Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut Sun)

Tina Charles (New York Liberty)

Second Team:

Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)

Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun)

Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota Lynx)

Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)

Briann January (Indiana Fever Guard)

As the WNBA moves into the semifinals, the Lynx will face the Mystics tonight (Tuesday) at 8:00 p.m. ET while the Mercury play the Sparks at 10 p.m. ET. For tickets click here.

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