Lakota Beatty’s high school basketball jersey is hanging in the North Rotunda of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee. “I made my mind up when I was probably in 4th grade that what I wanted to do was play basketball, and also, glorify God on my way up,” she says.
In high school, Beatty helped lead the Oklahoma Anadarko Lady Warriors to a state championship in her junior year; in her senior year, Beatty was awarded the Miss Oklahoma Basketball 2013 title and the Oklahoma Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year Award. The Gatorade Award is presented annually to the best girl’s basketball player in each state. Previous winners from around the country are now some of the best-recognized players in the WNBA: Lisa Leslie won in 1988.
She’s currently pegged as the back-up shooting guard at Oklahoma State University where she is a freshman.
An enrolled member of the Caddo Nation with blood connections to both the Sioux and Gros Ventre tribes, Beatty is the second Native American girl to win the Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year award. Angel Goodrich was the first, back in 2007. Beatty is the first girl from Anadarko to be so honored.
Beatty is a 5’8” guard who averaged just over 20 points per game, plus 5.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 steals in her senior year. In addition, she also maintained a 3.4 GPA and was president of her high school class.
She also had good role models.
“My dad was well known as one of the best shooters,” Beatty says. “He taught me how to shoot at a young age.” Her father, George Beatty, was The Daily Oklahoman’s Little All-City Player of the Year in 1972 out of Mount St. Mary Catholic High School, averaging 28 points per game. And her mother, Michelle Beatty, played basketball at Bismarck United Technical College.“We had a little [basketball] goal in front of our house and Lakota and her sister battled each other all the time,” George says. “She’s always been determined about what she was going to do. She made the decision early on that she wanted to play basketball.”
“Lakota’s going to add a lot of depth to our program,” says Jim Littell, the women’s head coach at OSU. “She’s confident. She has a quick release. She is getting a lot better at using and reading screens. She has a knack of getting to open spots.”
Beatty played a lot of “rez” ball as a kid growing up. “My mom’s family lives in North Dakota. We would visit every summer since I was 8 or 9, and we used to always play with the guys up there,” Beatty says. “Rez ball was fun. I miss running up and down the floor.”
Littell recognizes how “rez” ball prepared Beatty to play college basketball.
“I think Lakota’s grown up playing against guys,” he says. “She’s got—don’t mean this to sound negative in any way—an influence of the male game in her a little bit because she has grown up in the gym and playing against guys. That’s a very positive thing.”
Beatty says her goal for this season is to “work hard every day” and “just keep getting better.” I know that most Native American girls don’t think they can make it because there’s not a lot [of us],” Beatty says. “[But] there are more girls doing it now and it’s important to me that I be a good influence both on and off the court