October 5, 2021 

Onyenwere wins Rookie of the Year honors

Onyenwere is the first player from the New York Liberty franchise to win the Rookie of the Year award

New York Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere was named WNBA Rookie of the Year, the league announced today.

A UCLA graduate, Onyenwere was selected sixth overall in the 2021 WNBA draft by the Liberty. In her rookie season, she was in the starting line-up in 29 of 32 games played. She averaged 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game. Onyenwere led all rookies this season with 91 made field goals and 37 made three-pointers. She ranked second in the rookie class in total rebounds (94).

Onyenwere is the first player from the New York Liberty franchise to win the Rookie of the Year award. This season, she helped propel the Liberty to their first playoff bid in four years. The support of the franchise matters to the young star, who shared her feelings about the honor with Jackie Powell from The Next during a media availability today.

“It takes a village, as cliche as it is. I wouldn’t be here without my coaches, my family, my friends, my support staff… this is our award. This is the people of Brooklyn’s award, this is New York’s award,” Onyenwere said.

The Rookie of the Year was selected by a national panel of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters. Onyenwere received 47 of the possible 49 votes. Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald (1 vote) and New York Liberty guard/forward DiDi Richards (1 vote) received the remaining votes.

The WNBA also announced its 2021 All-Rookie Team today. The list included Onyenwere and New York Liberty teammate Richards. Also included on the All-Rookie team were Atlanta Dream guard McDonald, Chicago Sky guard Dana Evans and Dallas Wings forward/center Charli Collier.

Collier was drafted by the Dallas Wings from the University of Texas as the number one overall draft pick in the 2021 WNBA draft.

Written by Tee Baker

Tee is a women's basketball reporter and historian. As an author at The Next, Tee covers the BIG EAST conference and contributes articles and media featuring the WBL, the first professional women's basketball league in the United States.

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