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Rhyne Howard sweeps First-Team All-American honors

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Howard continues to cement herself as one of the greatest athletes in UK history.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 SEC Women’s Tournament - Kentucky vs Mississippi State Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kentucky Wildcats junior guard Rhyne Howard was named a First-Team All-American Saturday by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. In doing so, Howard became the first Kentucky player to ever earn First-Team All-American honors from the four major organizations.

For the second year in a row, the Associated Press tabbed Howard a first-team All-America – the first player ever to earn that honor from the AP. She followed by being named a Wooden Award All-American for the second straight year. Friday, she earned her second straight All-America honor from the United States Basketball Writers Association. This is the first All-America honor from the WBCA for Howard, who was tabbed All-America Honorable Mention by the WBCA in 2019 and 2020.

Howard has also been a final four finalist for the WBCA Wade Trophy, one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, one of four finalists for the 2021 Naismith Trophy, and a finalist for the 2021 Cheryl Miller Award.

For the second year in a row, Southeastern Conference coaches named Howard the SEC Player of the Year, while she earned All-SEC First Team honors for the third straight season.

Howard – who entered the NCAA Tournament as the only player in the nation averaging over 20 points per game with at least 7.3 rebounds per game, 50 steals and 70 assists – had a great junior season for the Wildcats, averaging 20.7 points per game with 7.3 rebounds per game. She hit a team-best 56 3-pointers and had 91 assists, 61 steals and 19 blocks.

Although her scoring average is two points lower from last season, Howard showed she is an all-around player and not just a scorer, upping her rebounds per game, assists per game and steals per game average from both her freshman and sophomore seasons.

The native of Cleveland, Tennessee, played 24 games this season with nearly half of those coming against top 25 ranked foes. In those games, Howard has shown she is the best player in the country with impressive numbers.

In 11 games against ranked opponents, Howard averaged 22.3 points per game, hitting 47.1% from the field and 39.7% from deep with 6.7 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game. Howard had four 30+ scoring games during the season with three coming against top-25 ranked teams.

For her career, Howard has scored 1,655 career points, which ranks seventh in UK history. She needs 37 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.

Howard ranks second in school history in career scoring average at 19.9, while she is third in career 3s made with 214 and third in career 3-point field-goal percentage at 38.1. She is also eighth in UK history in steals per game at 2.301.

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