Women's Basketball

Howard Has Memorable Final Game in Memorial Coliseum

by Tim Letcher

Sunday was the final time that Rhyne Howard would ever suit up for Kentucky in Memorial Coliseum. The largest crowd of the season came out to honor Howard for all that she has done in her four years in Lexington. Then, she proceeded to put on a show.

From the very beginning of the game, it was apparent that this game would be something special for Howard. She hit three-pointers on her first two shots of the game. She made three of her first four shots in the game and had 16 points at the end of the first quarter.

But the Cleveland, Tennessee, native was just getting started. Howard’s hot streak continued in the second period as she hit two more threes in the second quarter, scoring eight points in the frame, which gave her 24 points at the break. Her six three-pointers also broke the UK school record for threes in a half. Oh, by the way, the Cats led 47-26 at the break.

Howard did slow down a bit in the third period, scoring just five points, although she did tie her own school record by hitting her seventh three-pointer of the game in the period. Howard had 29 points with 10 minutes to play.

Less than a minute into the final stanza, Howard set a new UK standard with her eighth three-pointer in the game. In the process, she eclipsed her season high in points with 32 as the Cats led by more than 30 points.

UK head coach Kyra Elzy has seen Howard progress for many years, culminating with this, her senior season.

“I’m so happy for her,” Elzy said. “She has worked. Rhyne came to us when a lot of people thought we were not going to get her and she has put her mark on Kentucky basketball forever. Her loyalty to this program will always be special to us and it’s just fitting. It’s been a journey of ups and downs and tonight to see her go out on top the last time in Memorial- I want her to take that shooting with us, but I love that she finished it here like she did.”

Howard was genuinely touched by the outpouring of support from the Big Blue Nation on Sunday but she did not want to leave out her teammates.

“It was great seeing those fans,” Howard said. “But, I do want to give a shout out to my other seniors. It was Rhyne Howard day but we have Robyn (Benton), Jazmine (Massengill), and Blair (Green) who are also seniors. And Olivia (Owens). So, it was just great though overall, but I have love for them, too.”

For Howard, it was a fitting way to go out in her final home game. Her impact on the program will be forever felt. She will leave UK as the second-leading scorer in UK women’s basketball history and the second-leading scorer, man or woman, in UK basketball history. She shares the UK record for most points scored in a game (43) and after Sunday, she now holds the record for three-pointers made in a game (eight).

After Sunday’s game, Howard now holds the UK record for three-pointers made in a career (272) and is one attempt short of the record for three-pointers attempted in a career (719).

Sunday was a day to celebrate Rhyne Howard, and she added to that celebration with a record-breaking performance.

 
 

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