Column: The power of Howard — An all-time great seeks final stand in postseason play

Hunter Shelton

Rhyne Howard played her final game inside Memorial Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 27, scoring 32 points in a 90-62 drubbing of Auburn on what was dubbed “Rhyne Howard Day.”

Her performance was the best ever by a Wildcat senior on senior day, further cementing her legacy as one of the greatest to ever put on a Kentucky basketball jersey, male or female.

In 109 career games, Howard has led her team in scoring 70 times, rebounding 59 times and assists on 39 occasions. She has scored double-digit points in 97 games, 32 of which she has scored 25-plus.

She has notched 2,185 career points, second most in Kentucky history. She is one of three players — mens or womens — to reach the 2,000 point mark in 100 games or less.

Howard’s name will forever be plastered over the Kentucky record books. She currently sits in second place in all-time scoring average at 20 points per game, she is also tied for second in field goals made at 757. Her 272 3-pointers are good for first place ever, while her 37.9 percent 3-point percentage is third all-time. Her 2.367 steals per game is enough for fourth place in school history.

This season, Howard has nearly single-handedly carried Kentucky to its 15-11 record. She is averaging 20.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. She has accumulated 85 assists, 67 steals, 58 3-pointers and 34 blocks. She ranks 16th nationally in points per game and first in the SEC.

She was named to the All-SEC First Team for the fourth consecutive season. She is just the second player in the last 14 years to achieve the feat and will go down as a two-time SEC Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year and one-time SEC All-Freshman and SEC All-Defensive Team honoree.

Behind Howard, Kentucky has re-inserted itself in contention for a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Things looked bleak in early February, as UK went on a 1-8 skid, plunging out of the Top-25 rankings and SEC contention.

Since then, UK closed out the regular season on a six-game winning streak, in which Howard averaged 20.3 points.

Kentucky is now set to take on Mississippi State in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday, March 3, as they attempt to make one final case to the selection committee as to why they should make the field of 68.