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UK women’s standout Rhyne Howard named to Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List


By Evan Crane
University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky standout Rhyne Howard has been tabbed one of 25 players to the 2020-21 John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List, continuing her candidacy to become the national player of the year in women’s college basketball.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2021 John R. Wooden Award Women’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason or midseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award National Ballot.

Rhyne Howard

The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games.

The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. The winner of the 2021 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April. Last season, Howard was named a Wooden Award All-American and was one of five finalists for the award.

It has been a week full of honors for Howard, who earned her fifth career Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honor earlier this week. The weekly superlative from the league marked the 13th honor from the league in her career, which currently leads all active league players. She was also named the Naismith Trophy National Player of the Week, espnW National Player of the Week and College Sports Madness National Player of the Week.

Howard continues to show why she is the best player in women’s college basketball, leading Kentucky to back-to-back wins last week against No. 10 Arkansas and No. 12 Mississippi State. The wins for Kentucky marked the first time the program has ever beat consecutive top-15 league opponents and only the third time it has secured consecutive wins against top-15 ranked foes and the first since December 2013.

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In the league opener vs. Arkansas, Howard scored 24 points with 10 rebounds, adding four 3s and four assists. The 24 points were a season high before she paced Kentucky at No. 12 Mississippi State with 33 points, adding 10 rebounds, six assists, a block and a steal. Against State, Howard put the team on her back late in the game scoring 25 of her 33 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. In fact, Howard scored 25 of Kentucky’s final 31 points in the game, including 10 of the team’s 14 overtime points.

Howard is the first player in school history to score at least 33 points with 10 rebounds and six assists against an SEC opponent and the second player to accomplish the feat against any opponent, joining Belitta Croley. The native of Cleveland, Tennessee, had two double-doubles on the week, which were her second and third double-doubles of the season. Howard also led UK in assists in both games, while her eight 3s made during the week moved her up to fourth all-time in program history in 3s made in a career.

The preseason favorite for national player of the year, Howard has lived up to the hype so far in 2020-21, leading Kentucky with 18.8 points per game and adding 7.3 rebounds per game. The guard leads Kentucky with 23 3-pointers made and is second on the team with 29 assists and 14 steals. In two league games, Howard is averaging 28.5 points per game with 10.0 rebounds per game and is 8-for-13 from 3 with 10 assists.


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