Liberty's Onyenwere wins 2021 Rookie of the Year award

Steven Freeman / National Basketball Association / Getty

New York Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere has been named the Rookie of the Year for the 2021 season, the league announced Tuesday.

Onyenwere, the first Liberty player to win the honor, cited the impact of Walt Hopkins' coaching staff on her development in 2021.

“I’m just really grateful to be … drafted to a situation where I had the opportunity to get playing time, to contribute in any way I could," Onyenwere told reporters. "This is a testament to how much the coaches believe in all of us, regardless of if it's your first year, your fifth year, your 10th year, whatever it may be. I love this coaching staff."

The 2021 sixth overall pick registered 8.6 points per game, the most among all WNBA first-year players this season.

Onyenwere, who swept all four Rookie of the Month awards during the regular season, received 47 of 49 votes submitted by members of the media. Her teammate, DiDi Richards, and Aari McDonald of the Atlanta Dream split the other two votes.

The former UCLA star also headlines the league's All-Rookie team. She's joined by Richards, McDonald, Dallas Wings forward Charli Collier, and the Chicago Sky's Dana Evans.

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Liberty's Onyenwere wins 2021 Rookie of the Year award
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