UCLA senior forward Michaela Onyenwere, a projected first-round WNBA draft pick, said Wednesday she hadn’t yet decided whether or not she would return for one more year as a Bruin.
Prior to the 2020-2021 season, the NCAA granted those playing an extra year of eligibility due to the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Onyenwere, who ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring and third in rebounding, has said she was weighing whether to stay in Westwood an additional year. With the WNBA draft just six weeks away, she said she didn’t think she’d return to UCLA, but she couldn’t say for sure.
“I don’t think so, but…..not like, 100, 100 percent,” Onyenwere said.
Coach Cori Close said she supports Onyenwere’s decision, whatever it is.
“Michaela has got the freedom to make that decision when it’s appropriate for her,” Close said.
Two who will be honored on senior night tomorrow are Lauryn Miller and Lindsey Corsaro. Miller, a Missouri native, has evolved into a starter with a steadying presence on court and a big-sisterly influence off of it. Corsaro, from Indiana, missed her first two season with the Bruins with injuries. A redshirt junior, she could have two more years at UCLA, but is choosing to move on.
“She’s given us five amazing years, so we’re going to honor her as a senior,” Close said.
Natalie Chou, a redshirt senior transfer from Baylor, has “unequivocally” said she will use her additional eligibility year in 2021-2022, according to Close. Freshman Emily Bessoir and early enrollee Dominique Darius will be freshmen again next season. Whether or not others on the roster, including two who opted out, will take another year remains to be seen.
“We’ve had zero conversations about that with the players in between (the seniors and freshmen),” Close said.
UCLA hosts USC tomorrow at 5 p.m. PT.