LEXINGTON, Ky. – The honors keep coming for University of Kentucky freshman guard Rhyne Howard, who on Wednesday was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List, making her one of the …
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The honors keep coming for University of Kentucky freshman guard Rhyne Howard, who on Wednesday was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List, making her one of the early front-runners for the John R. Wooden Award All American Team and Most Outstanding Player Award.
The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2019 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy's during the ESPN College Basketball Awards on Friday, April 12.
Howard is leading No. 16 Kentucky in scoring and rebounding this season while ranking second on the team in assists, steals, blocks and 3-pointers made. The Bradley Central product is averaging 17.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, with 45 assists, 38 steals, 18 blocks and 38 3s made.
The 6-foot-2 guard has scored 10 or more points in 14 of her 16 games played, including 15 or more points in 11 games and 20 or more points in five games.
Howard has three double-doubles on the season and has led UK in rebounds and scoring eight times, assists and steals three times and blocks six times. Her best game of the season came against Southern, when she hit seven 3s and scored 29 points.
The 2018 Miss Tennessee Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year has been named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week a school-record five times this season while she was tabbed the USBWA National Freshman of the Week on Dec. 26.
She was also named the MVP of the 2018 Paradise Jam Island Division after scoring a combined 63 points in three games during the event.
The No. 16-ranked Wildcats continue their challenging road stretch to start SEC play as they travels to face their second straight top-15 ranked team this evening at 7 in Knoxville, against No. 13 Tennessee, in Thompson-Boiling Arena.
The game will be televised on the SEC Network with Paul Sunderland and Debbie Antonelli on the call.
Kentucky (14-2, 1-1 SEC) is coming off a loss at No. 7 Mississippi State on Sunday. The Wildcats fell behind by double digits in the first quarter and could never find enough momentum to get the score under 10 points the rest of the game, falling 86-71.
UK had some encouraging moments during the loss, including forcing Mississippi State into a season-high 24 turnovers and scoring 28 points off those miscues. The Wildcats had 15 steals and won the battle of the bench, 16-9. Senior guard Maci Morris led Kentucky with 20 points while Howard had 15 points with six assists and five rebounds.
Tennessee enters Thursday's game with a 12-2 overall record and 1-1 mark in league play. The Lady Vols won at Auburn to start conference play before a 66-64 loss to Missouri in Knoxville on Sunday. UT is 7-2 at home this season with losses to Mizzou and Stanford.
As a team, the Lady Vols are scoring 81.1 points per game this season, hitting 44.5 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from long range. Tennessee has a +11.7 rebounding margin and +3.0 turnover margin this season, forcing teams into 19.8 turnovers per game.
Individually, sophomore guard Rennia Davis leads the Lady Vols by averaging 15.5 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game, adding 20 steals. Sophomore guard Evina Westbrook is also averaging 15.5 points per game with a team-best 74 assists. Senior guard Meme Jackson has hit a team-best 36 3-pointers and is averaging 13.9 points per game with 28 steals and 32 assists.
Tennessee leads the all-time series in games played against UK, 55-11, including a 23-3 mark in games played in Knoxville. The Lady Vols have won six of the last seven meetings in the series, including each of the last two meetings. UK is 10-48 against a ranked Tennessee team.
The Lady Vols defeated the Wildcats 63-49 last season inside Rupp Arena. UK's last win against Tennessee was a 64-63 decision in January 2016 in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats' last win in Knoxville vs. Tennessee was 75-71 on Feb. 16, 2014.
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