Her hair is a little longer, her smile is a little broader and her competitive spirit is stronger than ever. For Washington Mystics All-Star Alana Beard, missing all of last season could have left her feeling discouraged. Instead, she said it changed her for the better.
“I’ve learned to just let go and know that I can only control certain things,” Beard said. “For me, that’s just working hard. Everything else will come together.”
“It was hard being injured, but I accepted it when it happened,” she said. “I knew there was no way, no how I would come back that year because I knew how long the process would take.”
A four-time All-Star, Beard, 29, was a standout at Duke and drafted by the Mystics with the second overall pick in 2004. The 5-foot-11 shooting guard has averaged 16.2 points, 2.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds in her eight-year career.
“The first day back, I was beyond nervous, just getting back out here with everyone, but I thought my teammates did an unbelievable job of just making me feel comfortable,” Beard said. “It was just like old times.
“It’s been very rewarding [to be back]. For the past year, it’s been a process and I’m sort of still going through that process. It’s been a lot of fun to get back on the court with my teammates and to help us reach our goal. I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore.”
The goal of winning a championship, and not just making the playoffs, has been elusive for the Mystics. In the team’s 13-year history, it has made the playoffs seven times, but only reached the conference finals once, in 2002, losing to the New York Liberty.
“She’s excited to be back on the floor, but I remind everybody it’s been a year, so it may take her a little time,” Lacey said. “Her timing is returning, and she’s starting to look like her old self.”View Entire Story
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