LEXINGTON, Ky. — After scoring back-to-back impressive performances to lead Kentucky to the quarterfinals, Rhyne Howard has been tabbed to the 2021 Southeastern Conference All-Tournament Team for the second straight season.
The five-member team, which was selected by media covering the tournament, included Howard, Jenna Staiti (Georgia), Maya Caldwell (Georgia), Destanni Henderson (South Carolina), and Zia Cooke (South Carolina). South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston was named the MVP of the event. Howard is the fifth UK player to earn multiple all-tournament honors after being named to the all-tournament team in 2020.
This week in the 2021 SEC Tournament, Howard played two brilliant games. The guard scored 27 points with six rebounds, four assists and four steals against Florida. In a close game late against the Gators, Howard scored nine fourth-quarter points and turned up the defense leading to several steals and a UK win. She followed with 33 points against top-20 ranked Georgia with three 3s, five rebounds, three steals and an assist. Howard, Candace Parker (Tennessee) and DeWanna Bonner (Auburn) are the only players in the event’s history with four games of 25 or more points and five or more rebounds.
Howard, who is the only power five conference player in the nation averaging over 20 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game with at least 50 steals and 75 assists, is having another banner season for the Wildcats. The only player in the SEC currently leading her team in scoring, rebounding and assists, Howard is averaging 20.7 points per game with 7.3 rebounds per game. She is leading Kentucky with 78 assists and ranks second on the team with 51 steals and third with 18 blocks. Howard has hit a team-best 49 3-pointers and is playing 35 minutes per game.
Her best performances this season have come against the best teams in the nation. In 11 games against ranked opponents, Howard is averaging 22.3 points per game, hitting 47.1 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3 with 6.7 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game. Howard scored 33 points at No. 12 Mississippi State, hitting four 3s with 10 rebounds and six assists. She scored 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime against the Bulldogs, scoring 25 of UK’s last 31 points, including 10 of 14 in overtime.
Other impressive performances on the biggest stage include 32 points with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals against No. 5 South Carolina and 24 points with four 3s, 10 rebounds and four assists against No. 10 Arkansas. She also posted 22 points against No. 13 Indiana and at No. 8 Texas A&M. Howard took over for Kentucky at No. 17 Georgia with 27 points, four rebounds, four steals, two assists and went 4-of-4 from 3 and then followed with her 33-point performance against the Bulldogs in the SEC Tournament.
Howard’s career is already one of the best in program history with still games remaining this year and her senior season in 2021-22. In 81 career games, Howard has hit at least one 3 in 71 games, including 18 games this season. She has posted 10 or more points in 72 career games, 15+ in 58 games, 20+ in 43 games, 25+ in 25 games and 30+ in seven games – including four times this season. The guard has led UK in scoring in 52 career games, in rebounding in 43 career games, in assists in 27 career games, in steals in 28 games and blocks in 30 career games. She has 17 career double-doubles, including six this season.
For her career, Howard has scored 1,613 career points sitting seventh in UK history in points scored. She needs 79 more to tie Maci Morris for sixth. Howard is the second player in school history to reach 1,500 career points prior to their senior season with the other being All-American and UK all-time leading scorer Valerie Still.