Back in 2000, you could still walk into Card Gym in the fall and watch the new recruits. We were over there to see the new guys but while we were figuring out who was playing we saw this skinny arm pop a ball loose and someone flying downcourt unbelievably fast.
Who the hell was that we thought?
That was our introduction to Alana Beard who was also playing pickup and pretty much holding her own too.
We came to realize that she was an immense steal for Duke, a hugely athletic, cat-quick player who had somehow gone under the radar.
She was a revelation to say the least.
She had a brilliant career at Duke and was an outstanding pro as well. We always admired her talent and her presence. She just seemed like a very impressive person.
She announced her retirement on Thursday. Beard is just 37 and ready to move on to the next phase of life, whatever it is and whatever it holds for her. We wish her the best and for all Duke fans can say: thanks for the memories!