Nigeria WNBA Michaela Onyenwere Named 2021 KIA WNBA Rookie of the Year.

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

Onyenwere received 47 votes from a national panel of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters. Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald and Liberty guard/forward DiDi Richards received one vote each.

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.

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Onyenwere 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. 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).

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

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


Michaela OnyenwereNew York Liberty47
Aari McDonaldAtlanta Dream1
DiDi RichardsNew York Liberty1


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2021Michaela OnyenwereNew York Liberty
2020Crystal DangerfieldMinnesota Lynx
2019Napheesa CollierMinnesota Lynx
2018A’ja WilsonLas Vegas Aces
2017Allisha GrayDallas Wings
2016Breanna StewartSeattle Storm
2015Jewell LoydSeattle Storm
2014Chiney OgwumikeConnecticut Sun
2013Elena Delle DonneChicago Sky
2012Nneka OgwumikeLos Angeles Sparks
2011Maya MooreMinnesota Lynx
2010Tina CharlesConnecticut Sun
2009Angel McCoughtryAtlanta Dream
2008Candace ParkerLos Angeles Sparks
2007Armintie PriceChicago Sky
2006Seimone AugustusMinnesota Lynx
2005Temeka JohnsonWashington Mystics
2004Diana TaurasiPhoenix Mercury
2003Cheryl FordDetroit Shock
2002Tamika CatchingsIndiana Fever
2001Jackie StilesPortland Fire
2000Betty LennoxMinnesota Lynx
1999Chamique HoldsclawWashington Mystics
1998Tracy ReidCharlotte Sting

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Basketball Association (NBA).
Press Contacts:
Ron Howard
WNBA Communications
[email protected]

Sam Tager
WNBA Communications
[email protected]

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About Kia America:

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia America continues to top automotive quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands. Kia serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of nearly 750 dealers in the U.S., including several cars and SUVs proudly assembled in America.

For media information, including photography, visit To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at

About the WNBA:

Currently in its 25th season in 2021, the WNBA is a bold, progressive basketball league that stands for the power of women. Featuring 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, the in-game fan experience, TV and digital broadcasts, digital and social content and community outreach programs, the league celebrates and elevates the game of basketball and the culture around it.

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 sports overall—with a focus on increased player compensation, improvements to the player experience, expanded career development opportunities, and resources specifically tailored to the female professional athlete. Key elements of the agreement are supported through the league’s new platform, WNBA Changemakers, with AT&T, the WNBA’s Marquee Partner and inaugural Changemaker, as well as fellow inaugural 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 the mission of being a driving force of necessary change and continuing conversations about race and voting rights, among other important societal issues.

For more information, visit

National Basketball Association (NBA)

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