Sophomore guard one of 30 players on watch list for national player of the year
Written by UK staff
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Rhyne Howard has put together an impressive sophomore season on the basketball court and the national praise continues to reflect those accomplishments as the sophomore guard has been tabbed one of 30 players nationally to the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy Midseason Watch List.
The Citizen Naismith Trophy is given annually to the national player of the year in women’s college basketball. The list of 30 will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists March 3 and the finalists will be revealed March 20. The winner of the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced April 4.
Last week, Howard was named to the John R. Wooden Award Late-Season Top 20 Watch List and Dawn Staley Award Midseason Watch List further establishing her as one of the top candidates for national player of the year. The reigning unanimous national freshman of the year last season, Howard has been tabbed to nearly every watch list for national honors. The guard is on the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List, Cheryl Miller Award Preseason Watch List, WBCA Preseason Wade Watch List, USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale Watch List and was Preseason All-SEC First Team by both league coaches and league media. The native of Cleveland, Tennessee has been named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week three times this season and was espnW National Player of the Week in December.
Howard was leading the nation in total points with 441 and sat third in points per game at 23.2 before injuring her finger in the second half of Kentucky’s 68-61 win over Auburn in late January. She did return to the game with just under five minutes remaining and scored five points with a key steal and block to clinch the win but missed the following three games before returning Sunday vs. Arkansas. Against the Razorbacks, Howard, who was playing with a padded and wrapped left hand, scored 20 points.
The sophomore guard is having an incredible season for the Wildcats, who are 18-5 and currently ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press Top 25. Howard is averaging 23.1 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game, adding 62 3-pointers, 51 assists, 47 steals and 22 blocks. So far this season, Howard has placed her name all over the Kentucky record books as the only player in program history to score 25+ points in five straight games while she is the second player to score 20+ points in eight straight games. Part of that impressive stretch was 37 points in UK’s win vs. Tennessee followed by a school-record tying 43 points at Alabama. She is the only player in program history to score 37+ points in consecutive games.
Howard is nearing 1,000 career points and is on pace to become the second-fastest player in program history to join the 1,000 point club. Currently, Howard has 986 career points in 52 games needing 14 more to eclipse the 1,000 point mark. Even after missing three games, Howard ranks 12th nationally and first in the SEC in total points with 461, second nationally and first in the league in points per game and 10th nationally and second in the SEC in 3-point field-goals per game.
Kentucky will return to action Sunday to play host to No. 8 Mississippi State at 5 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum. Tickets for all Kentucky women’s basketball home games this season are available online atticketmaster.com.