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Basketball: New York Liberty’s Michaela Onyenwere Named 2021 KIA WNBA Rookie of the Year


New York Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere on Wednesday was named the 2021 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year.

The Aurora native and former Grandview High School standout received 47 of the 49 votes from panel that included sportswriters and broadcasters. By winning the award, she earns $5,150 and a trophy by Tiffany & Co. Atlanta’s Aari McDonald and New York’s DiDi Richards split the remaining votes.

Onyenwere, 22, averaged 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 32 games (29 starts) for the Liberty. She led all rookies in points per game, field goals made (91) and 3-pointers made (37).

The No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA draft out of UCLA — the first Colorado player to be taken in the first round — she won all four of the WNBA Rookie of the Month awards.

At Grandview, Onyenwere finished her career with 2,290 points, second in Class 5A history only to ThunderRidge’s Abby Waner (2,670). She was also the first Colorado player to be named the state’s Gatorade player of the year three different times (2014-’17).

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