Duke's All-America guard has 2,067 career points, just 165 shy of
the the school's women's record held by Chris Moreland. The Blue
Devils are ranked No. 4.
SI: Are you comfortable with people calling you the best player
in the country?
Beard: Yeah, because that's what I want to be.
SI: How confident are you that Duke can win the national title
Beard: Very confident. We have everything we need. We have an
inside game and perimeter play. We have a point guard and a
rebounding attack. And we have depth.
SI: You once said that if you could be on the cover of any
magazine, it would be FORTUNE. What's the headline?
Beard: "Alana Beard: The Second Wealthiest African-American Woman
in the World Behind Oprah Winfrey"!
SI: You've gone from being homesick and shy as a freshman and
sophomore to being a very confident senior. What's helped you
change and grow?
Beard: I always kept to myself. I was antisocial. But I've
developed a group of friends who force me to talk and have fun,
and they know nothing about basketball. That's the best thing any
athlete can do: get friends that don't know anything about your
sport and accept you as just another friend and not because
you're that basketball player.
SI: You grew up playing on a dirt court in your backyard in
Shreveport, La. What's the key to beating your opponent on a dirt
Beard: Keeping your traction [laughs].
SI: You'll almost certainly be one of the top three picks in next
year's WNBA draft. How closely will you be watching the draft
lottery on Dec. 3?
Beard: Not very closely, I guess, because I didn't even know it
was coming up until you told me. I don't care where I play. I'm
just glad we can play in the States.
SI: If you could switch places with one athlete for a single day,
who would you choose?
Beard: Keyshawn Johnson. I want to figure out what's going on
there. How does it feel to be an All-Pro player and not playing
at this critical time in the season? That's who I'd choose, but
mostly because I'm real nosy. --R.D.
For more from Alana Beard, go to si.com/siexclusive.
COLOR PHOTO: VAUGHN YOUTZ/ZUMA PRESS INC. (BEARD HEADSHOT)
COLOR PHOTO: THAD PARSONS/ICON SMI (BEARD ACTION PHOTO)