Beard and Tillis Go 2nd and 11th in WNBA Draft

SECAUCUS, N.J. - Duke University seniors Alana Beard and Iciss Tillis were both taken in the top-11 of the 2004 WNBA Draft on Saturday at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, N.J.

Beard became the highest player to ever be draft from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) as she was selected with the second overall pick by the Washington Mystics, while Tills went to the Detroit Shock with the 11th pick.

Duke was the only team to have two players selected from the same school in the first round.

Washington registered a 9-25 season in 2003 and is coached by former NBA player, Michael Adams. Detroit went 24-10 last season and won the 2003 WNBA title. The Shock is coached by former NBA star, Bill Laimbeer.

Beard, the consensus National Player of the Year, led the ACC in scoring (19.7) and finished the season with averages of 5.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks a contest, while leading Duke to a 30-4 record and a Mideast Region Final appearance. The Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll for the first time in school history and finished her career with eight ACC Championships- four tournament and four regular season titles.

She was named Wooden Award, Associated Press, State Farm Wade Trophy, USBWA and National Player of the Year for her efforts. Beard, a 5-11 native of Shreveport, La., was also named winner of the Bayer Advantage Senior Class Award and Kodak All-America for the third straight year.

For her career, Beard compiled 2,687 points, 789 rebounds, 509 assists, 404 steals and 149 blocks. She became the first player in NCAA men's or women's history to register over 2,500 points and 400 assists and will leave Duke as the all-time leading scorer for men and women. She led the Blue Devils to two NCAA Final Four appearances and became only the second woman to be named Associated Press first team All-America on three occasions.

Tillis, a product of Tulsa, Okla., is one of the most versatile players in the draft as the 6-5 forward can play any position on the court. A three-time first team All-ACC and 2003 Kodak All-America, Tillis averaged 12.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in 2003-04. In the ACC statistics, she ranked 10th in scoring (12.5), fifth in rebounding (6.7), first in free throw percentage (86.5), eighth in steals (1.78) and fifth in blocked shots (1.34).

For the second straight year, Tillis stepped up her game in the ACC Tournament as she earned MVP accolades, after averaging 18.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks. Tillis finished her career with 1,712 points, 946 rebounds, 301 assists, 270 steals, 151 blocks and 25 double-doubles.

The Duke duo became the fourth and fifth players in school history to be drafted in the WNBA. The previous three-draft picks were- Michele VanGorp (18th overall by the New York Liberty in 1999), Peppi Browne (43rd overall by the Charlotte Sting in 2000) and Georgia Schweitzer (21st overall by the Miami Sol in 2001).

Post Draft Comments:

Alana Beard

"It is a great feeling. I have been waiting for this for a while and I cannot express how excited I am to be going to play for Washington."

"To join the Mystics family is very exciting and is an honor. I am blessed and cannot wait to meet my teammates. It is going to be a lot of fun. I went to a game over the summer and the Washington fans were awesome. They already treated me like a part of their family then."

"I have had a great career at Duke, but this is a new journey and I am very excited about what lies ahead."

On playing wit Chamique Holdsclaw:

"It is going to be great to be able to play with Chamique Holdsclaw. It is just something you dream of as when I was coming up through high school and college that is who I watched. She can do so many things and I should be able to learn a lot from her."

Iciss Tillis

"It is really excited. Like I said before, I didn't even know exactly where I was going in the draft. When they finally called my name, it became official and I became a pro. Now, I am ready to go to Detroit, meet everyone on the team and start playing. It will be fun fitting into a new system."

On playing for Detroit

"I think I am going to like playing for Coach Bill Laimbeer. He structures his team like many of the NBA teams do. There is a lot of fast-breaking, there isn't much structure and it just seems like a fun style of play to be involved with."

"I am just excited about this next part of my career and I am ready to get going."

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