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Rhyne Howard earns gold medal and MVP honors at FIBA AmeriCup

Howard continues to cement herself as one of the greatest and most accomplished athletes in University of Kentucky history.

BASKET-FIBA-AMERICUP-PUERTORICO-USA Photo by RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images

For the third time in her USA Basketball career, Kentucky Wildcats guard Rhyne Howard has earned a gold medal, as she helped the 2021 Team USA FIBA AmeriCup Team finish with a 6-0 record in Puerto Rico last week.

Howard, set to be a senior with the Kentucky women’s basketball team next season, averaged 13.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks per game at the event.

In the final group phase contest, Howard had 17 points, four rebounds, two steals, and hit a Team USA tying five triples against Venezuela.

In the tournament finale against host Puerto Rico, Howard racked up 12 first-quarter points and finished with game-high 22 points, hitting four 3s with three rebounds, five assists two steals and a block.

For her performance, Howard was tabbed the FIBA AmeriCup Most Valuable Player and was named to the all-tournament team. She was joined on the team by UK alumna Jen O’Neill, who was a star for Puerto Rico during the event. With Puerto Rico, O’Neill averaged 16.8 points per game with 4.8 rebounds per game, 3.4 assists per game and 1.0 steals per game.

Howard is coming off a fantastic junior season at Kentucky, averaging 20.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. She earned First-Team All-America honors from the Associated Press, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, United States Basketball Writers Association and Wooden Award. She was one of 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.

In addition, SEC coaches named Howard the SEC Player of the Year for the second-straight year, while she also earned All-SEC First Team honors for the third-straight season.

The U.S. finished a perfect 6-0 at the FIBA AmeriCup while outscoring opponents by 35.2 points per game, advancing to one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments that will determine the 12 teams to reach the 2022 FIBA World Cup.

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