LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball sophomore guard Rhyne Howard, who was the unanimous national freshman of the year last season, has been tabbed preseason All-Southeastern Conference First Team in a voting of a select panel of both SEC and national media members.
The voting occurred prior to the league’s annual media day, which will be Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama. Howard, who received two votes for SEC Player of the Year, will be joined at media day by head coach Matthew Mitchell and senior guard Jaida Roper. The panel of media selected the Wildcats to finish fourth in the SEC.
Howard is coming off an incredible first season at Kentucky where she was named a unanimous national freshman of the year by espnW, USBWA and WBCA. The national honors were added to her already lengthy list of honors last season as the SEC Freshman of the Year by league coaches and SEC Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press. She was also named WBCA All-America honorable mention, first-team All-SEC, SEC All-Freshman Team and second-team All-SEC by the AP.
The guard put herself in elite company last season as she was only the second freshman in program history to lead the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding as a rookie, joining UK All-American Valerie Still. Howard ended the season 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. She scored in double figures in 26 games with 20 or more points in 10 games and five double-doubles while she was the only freshman in the country with 500+ points, 70+ 3s, 75+ assists and 65+ steals while she ranked third among freshmen nationally in points and points per game.
The Wildcats won 25 games in 2018-19, including 11 in league play to finish fourth in the SEC. Mitchell, who was named the Co-SEC Coach of the Year last season, returns a lengthy list of players for this upcoming season, including three starters in Howard, KeKe McKinney and Tatyana Wyatt. In total, the Wildcats are set to return 63 percent of its scoring, 62 percent of its made 3-point field goals, 87 percent of its offensive rebounding, 81 percent of its total rebounding, 60 percent of its assists, 77 percent of its blocks and 58 percent of its steals.
UK will also add incoming true freshmen Emma King along with transfers Sabrina Haines, Nae Nae Cole and Chasity Patterson. Dre Edwards, a transfer from Utah who was the 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, joined the Wildcats this spring but will have to sit out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules. True freshman Deasia Merrill will miss the 2019-20 season due to a knee injury.
Season tickets and single-game tickets are on sale not at UKathletics.com/tickets. Purchasing season tickets offers the best option and price savings for fans. New season ticket purchases 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. Lower-level reserved chairbacks (A-J) sections are sold out again this season. 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.
SEC Preseason Media Poll
Order of Finish
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss
Player of the Year
Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M (14)
Rhyne Howard (2)
Chelsea Dungee (1)
Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Ayana Mitchell, LSU
Tyasha Harris, South Carolina
Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M
Unique Thompson, Auburn
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, South Carolina
Rennia Davis, Tennessee
Ciera Johnson, Texas A&M
Mariella Fasoula, Vanderbilt