Alana Beard of LA Sparks wins WNBA Defensive Player of Year
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- Sun snap 4-game skid, beat Fever 87-78
- Lynx win 4th straight, 88-73 over Aces
- Sparks bounce back, beat Liberty 80-54
- Stewart powers Storm past Wings 97-76
- McBride, Wilson lead Aces to 88-78 win over Liberty
- Moore, Lynx end Mercury's 8-game win streak, 83-72
- Jewell Loyd scores 25 points, Storm beat Fever 72-63
- Delle Donne, Mystics use big first half to beat Sky 93-77
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NEW YORK (AP) Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks has been named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in her 12-year career.
The guard-forward was named on 28 ballots from a national panel of 40 sports writers and broadcasters in voting announced Tuesday. She joined two-time winner Lisa Leslie as the second Sparks player to earn the honor. Leslie won in 2004 and '08.
Beard led the league in steals for the first time, averaging 2.09 while starting all 34 regular-season games for the defending league champions. She averaged 6.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season, while shooting a career-high 50 percent from the field.
Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx, a three-time winner, finished second with five votes. Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury, a two-time winner, was third with four votes. Beard's teammate, Candace Parker, earned two votes. Alyssa Thomas of the Connecticut Sun received one vote.
Beard will receive $5,000 and a Tiffany trophy.
Updated September 12, 2017