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NC State guard Kiara Leslie picked in first round of WNBA Draft

North Carolina State’s Kiara Leslie (11) drives to the basket while Kentucky’s Jaida Roper defends during the second half of a second round women’s college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, March 25, 2019.
North Carolina State’s Kiara Leslie (11) drives to the basket while Kentucky’s Jaida Roper defends during the second half of a second round women’s college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, March 25, 2019. AP

Kiara Leslie is going from the state capital to the nation’s capital.

Leslie, the graduate guard from NC State, was the 10th overall pick in Wednesday night’s WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics. Leslie is the fourth former Wolfpack player to be selected in the first round and the 16th player in the history of the program to be drafted into the WNBA.

A graduate of Holly Springs High School, Leslie started her career at Maryland before transferring back home to NC State. In two seasons with the Wolfpack, she averaged 14.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

During her last season at NC State, Leslie was a first-team all-ACC selection, an Associated Press all-American Honorable Mention, and all-ACC defensive team selection.

Leslie averaged a team-leading 15.9 points per game her senior year, along with 7.2 rebounds. She led the Wolfpack to a 28-6 record and a trip to the Sweet 16.

The 6-0 guard became the third NC State player drafted since Wes Moore took over as head coach, joining Markeisha Gatling and Kody Burke, both drafted in 2014.

North Carolina guard Paris Kea was selected in the third round (25th overall) by the Indiana Fever. Kea was an all-ACC selection as a junior and senior and leaves UNC having averaged 18 points per game, second all-time in school history.

Kea, who started her college career at Vanderbilt, scored 1,637 points in three seasons in Chapel Hill and scored in double figures in 82 of her 91 games as a Tar Heel. Kea averaged 17.3 points, 3.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds as a senior, leading UNC to the NCAA tournament.

Later in the draft, the Los Angeles Sparks selected former Duke guard Angela Salvadores in the third round with the No. 31 overall pick. Salvadores played at Duke during the 2015-16 season but returned to her native Spain following that season to play professionally.

Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.
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