New York Liberty’s Michaela Onyen named 2021 KIA WNBA Rookie of the Year



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New York Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere has been named the 2021 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year, the WNBA has announced. She becomes the first player to win the annual award with the Liberty.

Onyen received 47 votes from a national panel of 49 sports writers and broadcasters. Atlanta Dream goalie Aari McDonald and Liberty goalie / striker DiDi Richards each received one vote.

Onyenwere has 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, baskets scored (91) and three runs scored (37). The 6-foot Onyen also ranked second among rookies in total rebounds (94).

A regular starter in his first WNBA season, Onyenwere recorded 12 games with 10 or more points and five games with five or more rebounds. On 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 took five rebounds against 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 August 31.

Onyenwere has won all four Kia WNBA Rookie of the Month awards this season. She helped New York qualify for the WNBA Playoffs for the first time since the 2017 season.

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

In honor of being named the 2021 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year, Onyenwere will receive $ 5,150 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.

Below are the voting results for the 2021 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year award and a list of past recipients.


Player Team


Michaela Onyen were New York freedom 47
Aari McDonald Dream of Atlanta 1
DiDi Richards New York freedom 1


2021 Michaela Onyen were New York freedom
2020 Crystal Danger Field Minnesota Lynx
2019 Napheesa Necklace Minnesota Lynx
2018 Aja Wilson Las Vegas ace
2017 Allisha Gray Dallas Wings
2016 breanna stewart Seattle storm
2015 Jewel Loyd Seattle storm
2014 Chiney Ogwumike Connecticut Sun
2013 Elena Delle Donne Chicago Sky
2012 Nneka Ogwumike The sparks of Los Angeles
2011 Maya moore Minnesota Lynx
2010 Tina Charles Connecticut Sun
2009 Angel McCoughtry Dream of Atlanta
2008 Candace Parker The sparks of Los Angeles
2007 Armintie Prize Chicago Sky
2006 Seimone Auguste Minnesota Lynx
2005 Temeka Johnson Washington mystics
2004 Diana Taurasi Phoenix Mercury
2003 Cheryl Ford Detroit shock
2002 Taken from Tamika Indiana fever
2001 Jackie stiles Portland fire
2000 Betty lennox Minnesota Lynx
1999 Chamic Claw Washington mystics
1998 Tracy reid Charlotte sting

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Press contact:

Ron Howard WNBA Communications 212-407-8641

Sam Tager WNBA Communications 212-407-8358

About Kia America:

Based in Irvine, Calif., Kia America continues to lead in automotive quality surveys and is recognized as one of the world’s top 100 brands. Kia is the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League and offers a full line of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 750 dealers in the United States, including several cars. and SUV proudly assembled in America.

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About the WNBA:

Currently in its 25th season in 2021, the WNBA is a bold, progressive basketball league that represents the power of women. With 12 teams, the W is a unique sports property that combines competition and entertainment with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and social responsibility. Through its world-class athletes, in-game fan experience, TV and digital broadcasts, digital and social content, and community outreach programs, the league celebrates and uplifts basketball and the culture that lasts. ‘surrounded.

In 2020, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) signed a groundbreaking eight-year CBA that charts a new course for women’s basketball – and women’s sport in general – with an emphasis on increased compensation for female players, improved female player experience, expanded career development opportunities and resources specifically tailored to the professional female athlete. Key elements of the deal are supported by the league’s new platform, WNBA Changemakers, along with AT&T, WNBA partner Marquee and Premier Changemaker, as well as other Premier Changemakers Deloitte and Nike, and the recent addition of Google. During the 2020 season, the WNBA and WNBPA launched the WNBA Justice Movement forming the Social Justice Council with a mission to be a driving force for needed change and to continue conversations about race and voting rights, between other important social issues.

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