• December 2, 2021

New York Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere named 2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.

New York Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere is the 2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year. She is the first Liberty player to win the annual award. She received  47 votes from a national panel of 49 media members. Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald and Liberty guard/forward DiDi Richards received one vote each.

The former UCLA star won all four Rookie of the Month awards this season. Her efforts helped her team reach the WNBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season. She was the sixth overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft and will receive $5,150 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co. for winning the rookie honor.

Onyenwere is also a member of the 2021 All-Rookie team along with Aari McDonald, Charli Collier, DiDi Richards, and Dana Evans.

From the league:

Onyenwere averaged 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 22.5 minutes in 32 games (29 starts) this season. She led all WNBA rookies in points per game, field goals made (91) and three-pointers made (37). The 6-foot Onyenwere also ranked second among rookies in total rebounds (94).

A regular starter in her first WNBA season, Onyenwere recorded 12 games with 10 or more points and five games with five or more rebounds. In her WNBA debut, she finished with 18 points and five rebounds against the Indiana Fever on May 14. Onyenwere scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed five rebounds against the Dream on May 29. In her first career double-double, she posted 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against the Minnesota Lynx on Aug. 31.

New York selected Onyenwere with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft. Onyenwere played four college seasons at UCLA, where she became the Bruins’ first two-time AP All-America Team selection and finished her career as the fourth-leading scorer in program history (1,888 points).

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