The New York Liberty selected Michaela Onyenwere from UCLA with the sixth overall pick in tonight’s 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm®. This marks the third player in the franchise’s 25-year history drafted No. 6 overall, joining Sue Wicks (1997) and Crystal Robinson (1999).
Onyenwere, a 6-0 forward, highlights this year’s Liberty draft class. The Aurora, Colo. native averaged 19.1 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 42.1% in her senior campaign, leading UCLA to a Sweet Sixteen appearance. Michaela, a four-year letter winner with the Bruins, finished her collegiate career as the fourth overall leading scorer in program history (1,888 points).
With the selection, Onyenwere becomes the second-ever player from UCLA drafted by New York, and the first since 2003 (Nicole Kaczmarski).
“This is a special night for us”, said Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb. “To be able to add the talent that we did was both surprising and welcomed. Michaela Onyenwere is someone who fans will be proud to root for.”
The Liberty used their second round pick, No. 17 overall, to draft DiDi Richards out of Baylor.
Richards, a 6-2 guard, averaged 6.3 points and 6.3 assists per game in the 2020-21 season while shooting 42.9% from the field, leading Baylor to a 28-3 finish and Final Four appearance. The Cypress, Texas native, known for her elite defensive ability, garnered the 2020 Naismith and WBCA Defensive Player of The Year Awards.
With the selection, Richards becomes the first-ever player from Baylor drafted by New York and extended the program’s WNBA Draft representation streak to six consecutive years.
Kolb added, “DiDi Richards is someone who quite honestly, we didn’t think would be there when we selected, but we were overjoyed to take her with pick 17. Overall, tonight is a great night for the Liberty, and we can’t wait to get started.”
New York concluded their 2021 draft by securing Valerie Higgins and Marine Fauthoux with the 25th and 29th picks, respectively.
Higgins, a 6-1 guard, joins the Liberty by way of Pacific University. As a redshirt senior, the Granada Hills, Calif. native averaged 16.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.6% from the field. Tonight, Valerie became the first player in program history to be selected in the WNBA draft.
Fauthoux, a 5-8 guard, joins the Liberty after recently competing for Lyon ASVEL in France’s LFB. During the 2020-21 season, the Pau, France native averaged 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game across domestic and EuroLeague play. Marine, 20, has played alongside Marine Johannès for both Lyon and France’s Women’s National Basketball Team.
The New York Liberty’s Training Camp will begin on April 25. Tip-off for the historic 25th anniversary season and inaugural home opener at Barclays Center will be on May 14 at 7 p.m. ET against the Indiana Fever.
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