The Washington Mystics selected NC State guard Kiara Leslie with the 10th pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft. Leslie was a graduate student at NC State, playing two years there after graduating from the University of Maryland where she spent three seasons from 2014-17. Leslie missed the 2016-17 season for the Terrapins due to injury.
Leslie averaged 15.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Wolfpack in the 2018-19 season and was a regular starter in her two years with the Wolfpack. NC State went on a nation-high 21-game win streak to start last season as well and ultimately went to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. She made the All-ACC First Team and Defensive Team for her performance this season.
At Maryland, Leslie was a reserve.
In a release by the Mystics, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault said the following:
I think Kiara Leslie is the perfect fit for our team. She is a physical wing player who has excelled at both ends of the court at North Carolina State. One of the things I liked most about Kiara was her ability to come up big in the biggest games, particularly at tournament time. She is an elite defensive player already and has become an excellent offensive threat, particularly with her consistency as an improved three-point shooter. We are looking forward to Kiara becoming a part of the Mystics organization.
Like last year, the Mystics were the first team to select a player who was not invited to the draft. Though Leslie may not have as much buzz around her like some of the names noted in our preview, she still played a major role on one of the rising programs in the ACC, the best conference in women’s college basketball from top to bottom.
I thought Leslie would be drafted, but didn’t think she’d go in the first round. She also helps fill out the wing rotation which includes Ariel Atkins, who was the “surprise” pick who made everyone eat their words after the 2018 season.