Liberty rookie Michaela Onyenwere was named the 2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.
She received 47 votes from a national panel of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters. Dream guard Aari McDonald and Liberty wing DiDi Richards received one vote each.
Onyenwere, the No. 6 pick in last spring's draft, was the only player in her draft class that averaged at least 20 minutes per game. She led all rookies in points per game, was first in field goals made—both twos and threes—and finished second in total rebounds.
"It would definitely be an honor,” she told me in September about the prospect of winning the award. “I definitely didn’t come into this season like, ‘This is what I want to do,’ but to potentially have it, and just see how far I’ve come, and with the growth that I’ve seen in myself—I am proud of myself.”
Onyenwere also leads the WNBA's All-Rookie team announced on Tuesday. McDonald, Richards, Wings big Charli Collier and Sky guard Dana Evans were the other four members of the All-Rookie team.
In other WNBA awards, Kelsey Plum was named the Sixth Player of the Year last week. Sun forward Jonquel Jones took home the league's MVP award, while teammate Brionna Jones won the Most Improved Player award and coach Curt Miller was named the Coach of the Year. Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.
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