Former State Star Leslie Makes Long-Awaited WNBA Debut

Brett Friedlander

It took a year longer than expected, but Kiara Leslie finally made her NBA debut on Saturday.

After missing her entire rookie season in 2019-20, the former NC State star played 13 1/2 minutes for the Washington Mystics, scoring seven points off the bench in a 101-76 victory against the Indiana Fever.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the game was played inside the WNBA's "bubble" at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Leslie, the 10th overall pick of the 2019 WNBA draft, tore the meniscus in her right knee, requiring surgery to repair the damage, just before her team's first exhibition game last season.

The 6-foot guard from Holly Springs played her final two college seasons for the Wolfpack after starting her career at Maryland. She averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 rebounds during her time at State, earning first-team All-ACC honors and honorable mention AP All-American recognition as a senior in 2018-19.

Leslie scored her first professional points early in the second quarter of Saturday's game, taking an outlet pass in the open floor and scoring in transition to open up a 12-point lead.

She ended up going 2 for 5 from the floor with a three-pointer and two free throws, adding two rebounds and a blocked shot for the defending WNBA champions.

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