LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky senior guard Maci Morris and freshman guard Rhyne Howard have received 2019 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America honorable mention for their strong 2018-19 seasons.
The duo becomes the first Wildcats since Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator in 2017 to earn All-America honors from an organization. This is the first All-America honor for Morris during her career while Howard becomes the second freshman in program history to earn All-America honors from an organization. Thursday’s honors mark the 22nd and 23rd All-America honor for a UK player under head coach Matthew Mitchell.
Morris was fantastic for the Wildcats the past four seasons and topped it off with a great year in 2018-19, averaging 15.1 points per game with a team-best 75 3s and 45.2 percent from long range. Morris’s high percentage from long range is one of the best marks in the nation, sitting first in the Southeastern Conference and sixth nationally in that statistic. The guard scored in double figures in 26 games in 2018-19, including eight games of 20 or more.
Morris’ best game during the 2018-19 season came in Knoxville, Tenn., when she scored 27 points with four 3s, three rebounds and three steals in UK’s win against the Lady Vols. The senior scored 19 points in UK’s first-round NCAA Tournament win over Princeton with three 3s, four rebounds and two steals while she had 18 points with four 3s against NC State in the second round.
The native of Bell County, Ky., has left her mark on the UK program as one of the best to ever play for the Wildcats. Morris ranks sixth all-time in scoring with 1,692 points while her 252 career 3s made ranks second all time. The guard connected on 41.1 percent of her 3-point attempts during her career, ranking her at the top of UK’s all-time list in that category. In all, Morris hit at least one 3 in 107 of 129 career games.
Morris received several awards this season and is currently one of five national finalists for the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award for top shooting guard in the nation. In March, the guard was named an All-SEC Frist-Team performer by league coaches and All-SEC Second-Team honoree by the Associated Press. League coaches also tabbed Morris the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and she was one of 14 players tabbed to the SEC Community Service Team earlier this season.
Howard has a lengthy list of honors this season as the espnW and WBCA National Freshman of the Year, Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year by league coaches and SEC Newcomer of the Year of the Associated Press. She was also named first-team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team by league coaches while the AP named her second-team All-SEC.
Howard is the first UK freshman in the Matthew Mitchell era to score at least 10 points in each of her first 10 games. The guard put herself in elite company this season as she is only the second freshman in program history to lead the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding as a rookie, joining UK All-American Valerie Still. Howard ended the season leading UK with 16.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while she ranked second with 68 steals and 74 3-pointers made and third in assists and blocks. She scored in double figures in 26 games with 20 or more points in 10 games and five double-doubles. Howard was the only freshman in the country with 500+ points, 70+ 3s, 75+ assists and 65+ steals while she ranked third among freshmen nationally in points and points per game.
During conference play, Howard had a four-game stretch of scoring 17+ points with 19 points and five 3s against Auburn before 23 points and four 3s vs. Alabama. She had 18 points and 14 rebounds against Arkansas, hitting the game-winning shot with 1.3 second left and then getting a steal to clinch the win. In Kentucky’s win at top-15 ranked South Carolina, Howard had 17 points with four rebounds and three steals. In the SEC Tournament, Howard scored 21 points after halftime to charge a UK comeback against Missouri finishing the game with 11 made field goals and 25 points.
Howard is all over nearly every UK freshman single-season record, sitting second in points, second in points per game, fourth in rebounds per game, first in 3-pointers made, third in 3-point field goal percentage, third in steals, second in double-figure scoring games and fifth in double-figure rebounding games.