Maxine Beard started her journey with the Tennessee State women’s basketball team as a walk-on but will leave as so much more.
Five years ago, after completing a high school basketball career in St. Louis, Mo., Beard set her sights on college. After gaining some interest from smaller local schools, Beard ultimately decided to put basketball on hold and accept an academic scholarship to attend her father’s alma mater, Tennessee State University.
Although she didn’t receive a scholarship to play basketball on the next level, the desire remained.
“My father told me to stay in shape so if the opportunity presented itself, I’d be ready,” said Beard. “After hearing about tryouts, I went out for the team and later was asked to be a practice player.”
Beard, however, would become more than a practice player.
She saw action in four contests that season but her energy and team spirit set her apart. Her commitment to encouraging her teammates and keeping the bench lively was contagious.
After only playing in four games her rookie campaign, Beard’s role expanded as she made 19 starts over the next two seasons.
By the time her senior year rolled around, Beard had established herself as a leader.
She finished the season as the team’s fourth leading scorer and ranked in the Top 15 of the OVC in five categories: assists (5th), minutes (7th), assist turnover ratio (9th), free-throw percentage (13th) and steals (14th).
In the final home game of her career, she posted a career-high 19 points while draining 4-of-5 from three-point range.
“This season I wanted to be a leader, especially since our team was so young. I wanted to make sure I was consistent on and off the court, so they’d have someone to follow.”
A seven-time Dean’s List honoree, Maxine will graduate in May with a cumulative GPA of 3.681.