LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky freshman guard Rhyne Howard has been named the United States Basketball Writers Association National Freshman of the Week for her strong performances last week in UK’s wins over Western Carolina and Murray State, it was announced Wednesday.
Howard, who has won Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week honors four times this season, is the first UK player ever to win national freshman of the week from the USBWA, which started honoring the top rookie each week in 2014-15. She is the first UK player to win a weekly honor from the USBWA since Jennifer O’Neill was tabbed national player of week in December of 2013.
The award comes after Howard recorded her fifth 20-point scoring game of the season in Kentucky’s win over Murray State, posting a game-high 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting with five 3-pointers and four rebounds. The strong performance was her team-leading fourth game this season of 25 points or more and marked the seventh time this season she has led Kentucky in scoring. After just five points in the first half, which saw Kentucky go back and forth against the Racers for the lead, Howard came out of the locker room at halftime and scored 17 points in the third quarter alone to set the tone and put UK in control. The guard started the week with 18 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three assists against Western Carolina.
Howard leads Kentucky this season in points per game with 18.5 and rebounds per game with 6.8, while she sits tied for first in 3-pointers made with 34 and ranks second in blocks with 13 and steals with 30. Howard’s performances have helped Kentucky shot over 50 percent from the field in three straight games for the first time since the 2013-14 season. She has hit at least one 3-pointer in every game this season and has scored in double figures in 12 of her 13 games.