NO. 43

Bound and determined

After developing her basketball skills at Northrop High School, Leslie Johnson waits for another shot at the WNBA.

Leslie Johnson knows she was born at the right time.

The former Northrop High School star is currently trying to maintain a professional basketball career in Greece with an eye toward possibly playing next summer in the WNBA with the new Indiana franchise. The idea of a professional career in basketball is something she could only dream about as she was growing up.

"I always wanted to play basketball," Johnson said in 1997 when the WNBA started. "Then it was unheard of to play basketball. It's not to say that because now it's here, we're going to make one of those teams, but we control our destiny. Now it's available."

Johnson finally got her chance late in the 1998 season when the Washington Mystics signed her late in the season. In seven games of limited action, Johnson scored two points. She was hoping to get another shot this season, but never got an invitation to training camp.

To get that chance, Johnson had an outstanding high school and college career. At Northrop, she scored 2,045 points during her career to become the all-time northeast Indiana scoring leader. During her senior year in 1992-1993, she averaged 28.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game while shooting 75 percent from the field.

After that she played one year at Purdue University, earning National Freshman of the Year honors while leading the Boilermakers to the Final Four. She scored 10.9 points per game as a sophomore before she decided to transfer to Western Kentucky.

In two years with the Hilltoppers, she averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors both times.

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