Written by UK staff
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Tuesday was the John R. Wooden Award Top 30, Wednesday was the Citizen Naismith Trophy Top 50 and Thursday brings the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Wade Watch List, putting University of Kentucky sophomore guard Rhyne Howard on all three major national player of the year watch lists this preseason.
The Wade Trophy — now in its 43rd year — is the oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award in college women’s basketball. It is named in honor of the late, legendary Delta State University head coach Lily Margaret Wade, who won three consecutive national championships with the Lady Statesmen. First awarded in 1978 by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), now known as SHAPE America, the Wade Trophy has been presented to the WBCA NCAA Division I National Player of the Year since 2001.
The Wade Watch list of candidates for the Wade Trophy is composed of players selected by the WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America Selection Committee. The committee will review the list in January to determine if additional players will be added based on their play during the first half of the 2019-20 season.
Earlier this week, Howard was one of 30 players on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Watch List and one of 50 players on the Citizen Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List. The sophomore was also named to the 2020 Cheryl Miller Award Preseason Watch List in late October. The John R. Wooden Award and Citizen Naismith Trophy are presented to the player of the year in women’s college basketball while the Cheryl Miller Award is presented to the nation’s best small forward. Howard was also a first-team Preseason All-Southeastern Conference selection by league media and league coaches.
The sophomore started her second season strong Tuesday night, scoring a game-high 14 points with 11 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks in UK’s season-opening win against Mount St. Mary’s. Although Howard didn’t have the best shooting night, the guard found ways to help her team, securing her sixth career double-double. In 33 career games, Howard has scored 10 or more points 27 times while she has led UK in scoring in 17 career games and in rebounding in 20 career games.
The reigning national and SEC Freshman of the Year became only the second freshman in program history to lead the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding as a rookie, joining former UK All-American and Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Valerie Still. Howard ended 2018-19 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.
Kentucky began its 46th season of varsity women’s basketball Tuesday night with its 11th straight season-opening victory. The Wildcats will return to action Sunday at Middle Tennessee for a 3 p.m. ET tip before returning to Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 13 vs. Stetson at 7 p.m. ET. Single-game tickets are $10 (all ages) in reserved seating areas, while general admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-18) and seniors (age 65+). Children aged 5 and under do not require a ticket in general admission areas. Purchasing season tickets offers the best option and price savings for fans. Season tickets are available in upper-level reserved chairbacks (sections AA-JJ), lower-level reserved bleachers (sections R-Z) or general admission bleachers (sections RR-ZZ) for $69 per ticket.