Rhyne Howard’s dreams of playing in the WNBA have finally been realized.
With the first overall pick of the 2022 WNBA Draft, the Atlanta Dream selected Howard out of the University of Kentucky. She was the favorite to go first coming into Monday’s draft, but it’s still a magical moment that was well-deserved for one of college hoops’ best players — men or women — over the last four years.
After being drafted, Howard honored her late friend and former Wildcat Terrence Clarke, who tragically lost his life in a car crash in 2021.
Howard is wearing a pin representing Boston native Terrence Clarke who tragically passed away last year. She called him her “little brother” https://t.co/9dawXm0aOE— C. (@ChelseaSherrod) April 11, 2022
Atlanta GM Dan Padover on No. 1 pick Rhyne Howard: “Rhyne is a versatile wing who can score the ball in a variety of ways. Her athleticism and basketball IQ will be the backbone of her future success in this league. She’s a great kid from nearby.” pic.twitter.com/LOU9E1Qmjv— Vaughts' Views (@vaughtsviews) April 11, 2022
Howard now becomes the highest-player drafted in the history of Kentucky women’s basketball.
In what was a memorable final season in Lexington as a senior, the 6-foot-2 native of Tennessee averaged 20.5 points per game to go with 7.4 rebounds per game and a team-high 70 3-pointers. She ranked 15th nationally in points per game and 15th nationally in total points while also ranking first in the SEC in points per game and final points.
Howard made sure her college career ended on a high note when she led Kentucky to its first SEC Tournament title in 40 years. That included a huge upset victory over No. 1 South Carolina, who went on to win the national championship while finishing with just two losses. That game saw Howard score 18 points with four rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
In the semifinals, Howard scored 24 points against No. 15 Tennessee with seven assists, nine rebounds and two triples. She led Kentucky to a win over No. 6 LSU in the quarterfinals, scoring 32 points with six triples. She had 14 points against Mississippi State in the second round of the event.
For her career, Howard scored 2,290 career points, putting her second in program history in points scored. She also became just the third Wildcat in school history — both men’s and women’s — to record 2,000 or more points in 100 games or less, joining Hall of Famers Dan Issel and Valerie Still.
In addition, Howard ranks second in school history in career scoring average at 20.1, second in field-goals made at 790, first in career 3s made with 284, and fourth in career 3-point field-goal percentage at 38.2%. She is also fourth in UK history in steals per game at 2.298.
Best of luck to Howard as she begins her professional career!