WNBA news: Alana Beard named Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive teams announced

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: Alana Beard
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13: Alana Beard /

Los Angeles Sparks guard/forward Alana Beard has been named 2017 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced on Tuesday.

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The WNBA also named its All-Defensive teams, with Beard and teammate Nneka Ogwumike headlining the First Team.

This is Beard’s first DPOY award in her 12-year WNBA career, though she has been named to the all-defensive team seven times. Her win this season comes after receiving 28 votes from a panel of 40 sportswriters and broadcasters nationwide. Lynx center Sylvia Fowles came in second with five votes and Mercury center Brittney Griner received four.

In a season in which Beard shot a career-best 49.7 percent from the field, she was even more valuable defensively. She led the league in steals per game (2.09) and helped the Sparks force more turnovers per game than any other team in the league (16.4).

Beard and the Sparks received a double bye in the 2017 WNBA Playoffs and will face the Phoenix Mercury Tuesday night in the first game of a best-of-five series. Tip is set for 10 p.m. EST and the game will air on ESPN2.

Full WNBA defensive awards can be found below:

WNBA All-Defensive Teams

First Team:

G Alana Beard, Los Angeles Sparks
G Jasmine Thomas, Connecticut Sun
F Tina Charles, New York Liberty
F Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks
C Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx

Second Team:

G Briann January, Indiana Fever
G Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx
F Rebekkah Brunson, Minnesota Lynx
F Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut Sun
C Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury