Beard out, but swipes two awards
By Mike Ogle, CNNSI.com
Duke freshman Alana Beard, who leads the ACC with 3.6 steals per game and swiped last week's conference player of the week award, is out three to four weeks with a dislocated thumb.
The 5-foot-11 guard injured her right hand, appropriately on a steal attempt, with eight seconds left in the first half of Duke's win against N.C. State on Jan. 18. She underwent surgery to reduce the dislocation.
Beard collected rookie of the week honors as well last week, the first time ever the ACC has awarded both titles to one player in the same week. During that stretch, she averaged 28.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.3 blocks in three ACC wins. It was Beard's fifth rookie of the week award, which a Blue Devil has won every week but one this season. Beard now averages 16.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on the season.
The injury comes at an unlucky time for ACC-leading Duke, which has contests with the conferences second-, third- and fourth-place teams during the next week. The No. 5 Blue Devils (17-1, 5-1 in the ACC) play No. 25 Virginia (13-6, 4-2), North Carolina (10-6, 4-3) and No. 20 Clemson (14-4, 5-2) next week.
ACC, Big 12 square up
No. 7 Iowa State, North Carolina, No. 22 N.C. State and No. 13 Oklahoma compete in the ACC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 21.
This year the Big 12 travels to the Triangle area of North Carolina. The Wolfpack (11-6, 2-5) hosts the Cyclones at 1 p.m. to kick off the challenge in Reynolds Coliseum, where N.C. State has won four of its last five games against top-10 opponents. Iowa State (14-1) leads the nation in three-point field goals made per game, draining better than nine a contest. Its lone loss came at Duke.
UNC hosts Oklahoma (12-4) in Carmichael Auditorium at 3 p.m. to cap the doubleheader televised on ESPN2. The Tar Heels lost 79-67 at Iowa State in last year's challenge.
The ACC is 77-19 (.802) against non-conference opponents this season and is 44-3 at home.
Teasley reiterates plans
Nikki Teasley, UNC's starting point guard the past three seasons, confirmed last week that she will return to the university and the team next year.
She and coach Sylvia Hatchell said Teasley will return to classes in the summer after taking a year off from school for personal reasons which she has not yet disclosed. Teasley was in attendance for the Tar Heels' overtime victory against N.C. State on Jan. 14.
But with her replacement, sophomore Coretta Brown, doing such a stellar job running the point, Hatchell said that Brown will continue at point guard next year while Teasley will become more of a scorer at the shooting guard slot.
"That's what she's wanted to do the whole time she was here," Hatchell said. "You know, let her be more of a scorer and play more wing and let them two maybe interchange some. I think that'd be great."
In the meantime, Teasley's keeping plenty busy in Maryland. Rather than taking it easy during her hiatus, she's toughing it in the real world, working two jobs. She works construction in the mornings and at a JC Penney's department store in the evenings.
Mike Ogle is a reporter for The Daily Tar Heel, the student paper that serves the University of North Carolina.