DURHAM, N.C. -- For the first time in Duke history, a woman's basketball jersey is hanging from the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Alana Beard's No. 20 was retired Saturday prior to the top-ranked Blue Devils' 72-69 loss to No. 2 Tennessee.
"I think it is fitting that Alana have her jersey retired for
everything she has done for this program," Duke coach Gail Goestenkors said earlier in the week. "She has taken us to new heights and is one of the best women's basketball players to ever play the game."
The 2003 National Player of the Year, Beard is the school's all-time leading women's scorer with more than 2,300 points.
"It is a blessing and honor to be the first women's player at Duke to have her jersey hung in the rafters in Cameron Indoor
Stadium," Beard said. "To be considered one of the best to have played at Duke with all the great athletes who have come
through this program over the years is truly amazing for my family and me.
"This is a great step for women's basketball at Duke and I hope to see more jerseys hung along side mine in the future."
Beard's jersey was hung next to the jerseys of 11 Duke men's basketball players -- Dick Groat (10), Art Heyman (25), Jeff Mullins (44), Mike Gminski (43), Johnny Dawkins (24), Danny Ferry (35), Christian Laettner (32), Bobby Hurley (11), Grant Hill (33), Shane Battier (31) and Jason Williams (22).
A two-time Atlantic Cost Conference Player of the Year, Beard is averaging 19.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.2 blocks this season. Beard is the 18th woman in ACC history to have her jersey retired.
Beard scored 18 points in Saturday's loss, which will most likely result in Duke dropping out of the No. 1 spot in both top-25 polls.
"I would have loved to have the win for Alana, for our team and for the crowd," Goestenkors said. "It was a disappointing loss for so many reasons."
Despite the loss, Beard "loved every minute" of the pre-game ceremony.
"The crowd support was awesome," she said. "Just to see my parents standing out there with smiles going from ear to ear was the most enjoyable thing. If anything, I wanted it for my parents because they're so happy. You could see the expressions on their faces."