The media members have made their predictions and they think the 2019-20 edition of the Kentucky Wildcats women’s basketball team will have a repeat of last season.
After finishing the 2018-19 season fourth in the SEC standings, the media picked the ‘Cats to end the upcoming year in the same position.
The top-4 contains the same teams from last season but in a slightly different order. South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Texas A&M are predicted to edge out Kentucky this season in that order (last year’s standings finished with MSU in first followed by USC, TA&M, then UK). Side note, all three of those teams have been ranked in the preseason top-10, according to Michelle Smith of NCAA.com. Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter will be a National Player of the Year candidate.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) October 15, 2019
After losing two invaluable seniors in Maci Morris and Taylor Murray, the Lady ‘Cats don’t expect to suffer a down year by any means. The team returns 62 percent of its scoring and 81 percent of its rebounding from last season. Three starters, Tatyana Wyatt, KeKe McKinney, and Preseason All-SEC First Team recipient Rhyne Howard, will once again gear up in the blue-and-white. Head coach Matthew Mitchell has rounded out this team by adding a star transfer at point guard in Chasity Patterson along with two other transfers in addition to the sharpshooting freshman Emma King.
The talent is there. The bench is there. The coaching is there. This team isn’t just expected to meet the criteria that last season’s squad set the bar for, they have aspirations for a 2020 SEC Championship.
While dueling against the trio of USC (twice), MSU, and TA&M will be the most difficult portion of the Wildcats schedule, it should prepare for them anything the NCAA Tournament can throw at them. Not to mention the matchup with Lousiville in mid-December against a Cardinals team that should also crack the top-25.
The Lady ‘Cats will be battle-tested and ready for the postseason by March. If they can stay healthy, this should be a team that is nationally ranked throughout the entire season.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©October 15th, 2019 @ 6:30pm
The reigning National Freshman of the Year is already making headlines before she begins her second season of college hoops.
Voting was conducted ahead of Thursday’s SEC women’s basketball media day and Howard was a no-brainer for the First Team.
While she only received two votes for SEC Player of the Year, Howard will undoubtedly be one of the top players in not only the conference but the entire country.
During her freshman season, the 6-foot-2 guard led the Wildcats in scoring (16.4 per game) and rebounds (6.6 per game) while converting on nearly 39 percent of her three-point attempts. Alongside the now-graduated seniors Taylor Murray and Maci Morris, Howard helped lead Kentucky to a 25-8 (11-5 in SEC) record, finishing fourth in the SEC and making it to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
Heading into the 2019-20 season, Howard is no longer a newcomer and is well-established as one of the premier scorers in women’s basketball. Even though Texas A&M star Chennedy Carter is predicted to win SEC Player of the Year (for good reason, as Carter is one of the most dynamic and fearless guards in the entire country and will likely compete for National Player of the Year awards, too), Howard will have a legitimate shot to be the conference’s best player on a Kentucky team expected to finish near the top of the SEC.
Making up the rest of the First Team following Howard and Carter are Chelsea Dungee (Arkansas), Ayana Mitchell (LSU), and Tyasha Harris (South Carolina).
Howard will join head coach Matthew Mitchell and senior guard Jaida Roper as the trio travel to Birmingham, AL for SEC media day on Thursday.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©October 11th, 2019 @ 10:14pm
Serving as the appetizer for the main course, the Lady Wildcats did not disappoint. And we have head coach Matthew Mitchell to thank for that.
Mitchell’s rendition and subsequent dance to the hit song Old Town Road was everything that I wanted it to be and more. The outfit. The moves. The backup dancers. The high-kicks. Did I mention the outfit? It was all perfect…
The player intros weren’t as exciting (how could they be?) but still sparked up the crowd. Kentucky native and Harlan County girl, Blair Green, unzipped her Kentucky jacket to showcase a “606” t-shirt as a shoutout to her home city. The always-vibrant Keke McKinney donned a “Big Blue Nation” flag draped around her back. Sabrina Haines was getting all the way down. Jaida Roper danced and hopped around like a kid in a candy store.
Chasity Patterson won the three-point shootout as the newcomer to this year’s squad after transferring from Texas. She beat Amanda Paschal in the final round. It was also cool to watch the two best friends on the team, Rhyne Howard and Blair Green, go head-to-head in the first round of the contest.
What does cool look like in a pic?
Oh ok… ? pic.twitter.com/s7352qHPYF
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) October 12, 2019
The women’s team only saw five minutes of scrimmage time, but it was fun nonetheless. The common theme was knocking down triples; lots of them. Patterson hit a couple. Howard also knocked one in and so did Green. I don’t have an official box score, but I’m pretty sure the ladies shot 50-50 from three. No need to fact check.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) October 12, 2019
Media Day is Oct. 22. The season is almost here, folks.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©October 11th, 2019 @ 7:36pm
In past years, Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell has danced to the likes of Michael Jackson, James Brown, and MC Hammer at Big Blue Madness.
This evening, Mitchell took the floor to “Old Town Road” decked out in a full Kentucky-themed cowboy outfit during his annual introduction.
Needless to say, it was quite the performance from the 13-year head coach.
Take a look at the introduction in its entirety here:
Another year, another crazy dance from Matthew Mitchell.
By Maggie Davis on ©October 09th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
The UK women’s basketball team will be without one of its most exciting newcomers for the entirerty of the upcoming season. Deasia Merrill has sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, Coach Matthew Mitchell announced Wednesday. The knee injury is severe enough to require an entire season of rehabilitation before Merrill will be ready to rejoin the Wildcats on the basketball court.
“Deasia injured her knee on a very tough play in practice last week,” Coach Mitchell said in a statement released by UK. “She was playing very hard, preparing for a successful season. Unfortunately, the injury is season-ending, but Deasia has shown remarkable resilience since the injury.”
The 6-foot-2 forward enrolled at UK over the summer as a true freshman. She came to Kentucky as a consensus top-100 player in the country and one of the best high school players from the state of Georgia. Merrill was tabbed as a four-star recruit and the 66th best prospect in the nation by ESPN. The world wide leader also named Merrill the No. 8 forward in her class. She originally committed to Kentucky last September, picking the Cats over Duke, Pittsburgh, Miami (Florida), Ole Miss and Georgia Tech, among others.
During her senior year of high school, Merrill averaged 25.6 points, 15.4 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.2 steals and 4.2 blocks per game. Her physical play around the basket combined with her ability to score is already impressive; unfortunately, the Cats are going to have to look somewhere else for points this year, especially following Maci Morris’ and Taylor Murray’s graduations at the conclusion of last season.
“We are confident [Merrill] will learn many valuable and character-strengthening lessons during this part of her journey,” Mitchell’s statement continued. “Our medical team is fantastic, and her teammates and her coaches will support her fully on her road to recovery.”
By Zack Geoghegan on ©October 08th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
If you’re looking for something new to hang up on that already cluttered bedroom wall littered with Kentucky posters dating back to the 1990s, you’ll just need to wait a few more days.
UK Athletics has announced that the latest basketball schedule posters for the 2019-20 season will be released at Friday’s Big Blue Madness. But you’ll have to wait until after BBM has concluded before you can get your hands on them.
Both the men’s and women’s posters will be unveiled and distributed to fans.
? ??posters coming soon!? ?
— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) October 8, 2019
If you aren’t able to make the trip to Rupp Arena on Friday and experience the new chair back seats, you can snag the posters at Kroger locations throughout the state starting on Saturday morning.
Only three more days…
By Zack Geoghegan on ©October 04th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
Go ahead and start marking your calendars and clearing your nights because the Kentucky women’s basketball team is going to be broadcasted on national television double-digit times for the 10th straight season.
We interrupt this program to introduce our TV selections & game times. ???? pic.twitter.com/zA17yXOJiz
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) October 2, 2019
The Lady Wildcats will appear on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN2, ESPNU, and the SEC Network) for at least 12 games during the 2019-20 season.
Three games are officially set to air on ESPN2: vs. Louisville (in Rupp Arena) on Dec. 15, @ Arkansas on Feb. 9, and vs. Mississippi State on Feb. 16. While two others – vs. Tennessee on Jan. 5 and vs. South Carolina on Feb. 23 – will either air on ESPN2 or the SEC Network, however, that will not be decided until about a week before tip. A trip to Gainesville, FL will showcase the Cats matching up with the Gators on ESPNU on Dec. 12. Five games against conference opponents will be broadcasted on the SEC Network with one non-conference matchup against Austin Peay on Dec. 1 also airing on the SEC Network. Every single in-conference game will be available for viewing on the SEC Network+, which you can watch through the ESPN app.
If you would like to check out the full schedule, including dates, click here to read Tyler Thompson’s post from last month.
With the Kentucky men’s basketball media day behind us, it’s time to look forward to the sights and sounds of the 2019-20 version of the Kentucky women’s basketball squad.
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, head coach Matthew Mitchell, star sophomore Rhyne Howard, and company will sit down with reporters to answer questions in order for us to get a sneak peek at what should be an incredibly talented team.
I’ll be there representing KSR, providing updates throughout the day and giving you all as much insight as I can on this fantastic group of ladies. After covering the team last year – my first time spending a whole season as a beat reporter – I plan on bringing as much coverage as possible to you all throughout the entire season. I had a ton of fun last year, but never hit my stride as a journalist and I vow to put as much time and energy into this team as possible. I had the privilege of covering the Maci Morris/Taylor Murray-led Wildcats last season alongside fellow KSR-er Maggie Davis, but this year you’ll be seeing much more from me. I posted roughly 40 articles covering last season’s team. My goal this year is to get well into the triple-digits.
No sleepin. ??? pic.twitter.com/C1c6BMkk9y
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) October 3, 2019
Kentucky is going to be an extremely exciting team to watch as they possess a star player, veteran leadership, and a deep bench; not to mention one of the top coaching staffs in all of the SEC. I’m excited that KSR has provided me another opportunity as a beat reporter for the women’s team and even more excited to get the ball rolling. If you’d like, you can follow me on Twitter (@ZackGeoghegan) where I’ll be posting updates and live-tweeting games (along with other nonsense that will ultimately make you despise me) once the opening regular-season game tips off on Nov. 5.
It should be a fun season. Let’s get to it.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©October 03rd, 2019 @ 2:00pm
We don’t cover women’s basketball recruiting as much as men’s, but that’s about to change because one of the top prospects in the country is visiting Kentucky next weekend and her name is Treasure Hunt.
According to the Herald-Leader, the five-star wing from Chattanooga will be in the stands for Big Blue Madness for an official visit. The Cats are in her top five, along with Auburn, Baylor, Mississippi State, and South Carolina. Hunt is considered a top 10 player in the 2020 class by All Star Girls Report, and Kentucky already has an in thanks to Rhyne Howard, who used to play on her travel team. Hunt’s mother, Keisha Hunt, coached them both and told the Herald-Leader that Treasure still thinks of Rhyne as a big sister.
Treasure Hunt 6-1 top ranked 2020 had her first home visit with some of the top coaches in WBB. @FBCMotton @MikeFlynn826 @HHCALadyHawks @KentuckyWBB @tlownsdale @PBevBallNPrep @PassThaBall pic.twitter.com/i6hKId3AYv
— Keisha Hunt (@KiKiHunt) March 2, 2019
This will be Hunt’s second visit for Big Blue Madness. Last year, she took an unofficial trip to Lexington for the event. She plans to make her college decision by the early signing period, which begins November 13.
Matthew Mitchell better have a heck of a dance planned to top meeting Charles Barkley at Auburn:
— Keisha Hunt (@KiKiHunt) September 28, 2019
By Zack Geoghegan on ©September 27th, 2019 @ 9:15pm
Making her Hungarian League debut, former Kentucky women’s basketball star Taylor Murray put up some impressive numbers overseas.
Posting 24 points and nine assists on 67 percent shooting, Murray had herself a game as she officially begins her professional basketball career.
Check out her numbers ???
— koyersport (@koyersport) September 27, 2019
Back in July, Murray signed a contract to move over to Hungary, suiting up for Vasas-Akademia.
After not making the jump to the WNBA, Murray – along with former backcourt teammate Maci Morris – decided to take her talents overseas. She finished her career at Kentucky as one of the all-time greats to ever wear the blue-and-white, mainly as a ferocious on-ball defender.
Hopefully we continue to see Murray excelling and maybe it’ll land her a spot back in states sometime soon.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©September 27th, 2019 @ 8:30pm
The Kentucky women’s basketball team was out and about early on Friday morning visiting the fans of Tent City before the heat of the day made stepping outside completely miserable. The squad was handing out breakfast sandwiches to some lucky campers and signed a few autographs along the way.
Sooooo, where was your energy level at 8 a.m. this morning?
Yeah… same. ??? pic.twitter.com/52zf3980Hm
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) September 27, 2019
It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, KeKe McKinney is always bursting with energy. Whatever coffee she drinks in the morning, I need 40 cups of it.
Also, after transferring from Texas to Kentucky, point guard Chasity Patterson got a taste of just how crazy some UK fans truly are.
This is hardly the wildest thing you’ll see during your time in Lexington, Chasity.
The team even got the fourth practice of the season in after taking a stroll outside of Joe Craft.
Practice No. 4 views
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) September 27, 2019
My basketball itch is in need of some serious Benadryl…
We’re still about five weeks away from the first Kentucky women’s basketball exhibition game, which means it’s time for regular practices to become a part of the student-athlete’s schedule.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Lady Wildcats held its first practice of the season at the Joe Craft Center and the faint scent of basketball in the Bluegrass has turned into a full-on bouquet of fresh nets and mopped hardwood.
'Tis the season. ??? pic.twitter.com/ekfkQkik0C
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) September 24, 2019
Led by reigning National Freshman of the Year, Rhyne Howard, the Cats head into the new season without recently departed seniors Maci Morris and Taylor Murray – who have both signed professional contracts overseas.
This year’s version of the team returns plenty of production and minutes from last season along with some key additions on both the recruiting trail and the transfer portal.
Howard is clearly going to be the engine – a task she is excited to tackle – but the team will boast a deep bench with experience all across the court.
Last season’s starting frontcourt of KeKe McKinney and Tatyana Wyatt will hold down the fort on the blocks again, this time as juniors with another year of experience under their drawstring gym shorts. 6-foot-1 junior Ogechi Anyagaligbo should also make some important contributions off the bench once again this season.
From the transfer portal, head coach Matthew Mitchell has added some size down low with 6-foot-3 Nae Nae Cole to go along with some much-needed depth and talent at the guard position, bringing in the 2017 No. 1 ranked point guard coming out of high school, Chasity Patterson, along with 5-foot-10 guard Sabrina Hines.
Incoming freshmen Deasia Merrill (the No. 62 overall recruit according to ESPN) and Emma King add another set of weapons for the Cats. Merrill will provide immediate depth behind McKinney and Wyatt while King (who went to Lincoln County HS) adds another tall sharpshooter off the bench. Sophomore Blair Green is also expected to return to her natural position at guard rather than playing the forward position, as she did most of last season.
But no set of players are going to have more pressure on them than the two seniors in the backcourt, Jaida Roper and Amanda Paschal, who will have the duty of taking over in the absence of Morris and Murray. Both players excelled in backup roles last season, and with Patterson expected to come in and immediately contribute, the depth and experience at that position are going to be a massive (and necessary) positive. Kameron Roach will also be able to provide some experience as she enters her third year playing at guard.
Practice 1 was ?, but don’t take our word for it …
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) September 24, 2019
While losing Morris and Murray hurts, the players coming back along with the incoming class should have this team looking like a legitimate force out in the SEC. There is depth at every position. Almost too much depth. There’s going to be some talented players who won’t see the court as much as they might be capable of. Howard is going to have some insane expectations placed upon her as the star. With more size coming into the frontcourt, last season’s most glaring issue of defensive rebounding should be masked at least a bit. There are real aspirations that this team could win the entire SEC.
As Roper said in the above video, “it’s gonna be a movie, so stay tuned.”
Are you an aspiring coach that would like a chance to learn from a coaching staff that boasts over 80 collective years in the collegiate basketball scene? The Kentucky women’s basketball team is offering you that opportunity.
On Oct. 26 from 9:30 a.m. to Noon inside the Joe Craft Center, the entire Kentucky coaching staff for the 2019-20 women’s basketball team will hosting a coaches clinic that is open to coaches only.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) September 17, 2019
The clinic will cost $50 and coaches who are interested can sign up by clicking the link here.
In attendance will be head coach Matthew Mitchell along with high-level assistants Kyra Elzy, Niya Butts, and Amber Smith, among several others.
Also, if you happen to be a high-school coach or a two-year college coach, you’ll have the opportunity to head on down to Kroger Field after the clinic to watch the Football Cats take on Missouri. Click the link below for more information.
Want to get a live-look at the 2019-20 edition of your Kentucky women’s basketball squad, including star sophomore Rhyne Howard? In a couple of weeks, you’ll have that chance.
The team will be at The Summit located at Fritz Farm across from the Fayette Mall on Saturday, Sept. 28 as they’ll be hosting a community workout event from 9-11 a.m.
If you haven’t caught on yet, we’re really into fitness & we want you to join us!
Mark your calendars for Sept. 28, we’ll see you at The Summit.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) September 10, 2019
Along with strength and conditioning coach John Spurlock, the women’s team will be spread out across The Summit, interacting with fans while engaging in workouts such as yoga and other exercises.
The goal of the event is to encourage fans to purchase a season ticket package for the upcoming year. The #DriveFor5K hashtag will be used to promote the selling of 5,000 season ticket orders.
Fans can basically get away with theft by ordering the $69 package, which includes tickets to every home game, priority seating for the two games hosted at Rupp Arena along with postseason tickets, and a cheaper deal as opposed to buying single-game tickets.
Make sure to follow @KentuckyWBB on Twitter and stay up to date with what the Lady Cats are up to as they go through offseason workouts.
By Nick Roush on ©September 06th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Less than two months away from the start of the 2019-20 Kentucky basketball season, the Big Blue Nation is once again captivated by the Cats’ uniforms.
A post by Kahlil Whitney Thursday afternoon showed The Dragon rocking No. 2 in the same white uniform the Cats have worn for almost five seasons. The checkerboard design along the side is still featured prominently.
Typically, uniforms do not draw too much attention, but the checkerboard is exempt from this norm. Most fans do not like the checkerboards, while some (like myself) simply do not care. For those who share a disdain for the uniforms, there’s now a feasible alternative.
Members of the UK women’s basketball team have started to share the new look Matthew Mitchell’s team will rock this season. The checkerboard is still featured on the side, but it’s much more subtle. The design on the front is also different, with the Kentucky name arched over the players’ numbers, creating a classic look.
The new women’s uniforms are similar to uniforms the men rocked in the mid-00s.
The checkerboards don’t appear to be going anywhere, but should the men follow the women’s team’s lead?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©September 04th, 2019 @ 11:30am
The 2019-20 Kentucky Women’s Basketball schedule is finally complete. Today, the SEC released the dates for the 2020 conference slate, which will feature eight home games and eight road games for Matthew Mitchell’s squad. Tip times will be set up by TV assignments later this fall.
Hopefully this means the men’s conference schedule isn’t far behind…
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 21st, 2019 @ 6:30pm
Kickoff at Kroger Field is right around the corner, which means basketball season is only a couple blocks down the road.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Kentucky women’s basketball team announced its non-conference scheduled for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
? Is this thing on…
The 2019-20 non-conference lineup is here!
It’s music to our ears.
— Kentucky WBB (@KentuckyWBB) August 21, 2019
“Every year we try to put together a well-balanced non-conference schedule for our team and I like how we put this year’s schedule together,” head coach Matthew Mitchell said, according to UK’s press release. “There are some familiar faces on this schedule but it’s always fun to host teams that we haven’t seen before and travel to some new places like Cal-Berkeley and Charlottesville. We’re a month away from getting practices going and I’m so excited to see what this group can accomplish together.”
The most notable matchup will be when the Lousiville Cardinals make a trip to Rupp Arena on Dec. 15. Shortly after that, the Wildcats will head out west to play the California Golden Bears on Dec. 21.
There are currently no listings for game times or TV assignments and the 16-game SEC schedule is set to be released at a later date.
Season tickets are running for $69 (nice) and include the following benefits:
Savings over the cost of buying single-game tickets
Priority seating for games held at Rupp Arena, based upon K Fund priority ranking
Priority access to postseason tickets
Five (5) K Fund priority points with purchase of two or more season tickets
Complimentary ticket offers to select UK Athletics events
Opportunity to renew and upgrade your seat location each season, based on availability
The Wildcats lost two key seniors from last season’s roster in Maci Morris and Taylor Murray, but return a loaded frontcourt and are expected to be led by reigning NCAA Freshman of the Year Rhyne Howard. They also bring in two freshmen, Emma King and Deasia Merrill, along with a few other transfers to stock up what should be a deep bench.
Here a few other notes regarding the non-conference schedule according to UK.
Kentucky will be facing Mount St. Mary’s for the first time in program history.
Mount St. Mary’s and Charlotte will be making their first trips to play against the Wildcats in Lexington while Stetson, Grambling State and Winthrop will be making their second trip.
Kentucky and Virginia played for the first time in program history last season in Rupp Arena with UK earning a 63-51 victory. With that said, it will obviously be Kentucky’s first trip to Charlottesville to play this November.
UK and Middle Tennessee first played each other in 1975 and have met annually since 2008.
Matthew Mitchell, who coaches two seasons at Morehead State before being named UK’s head coach, will face his former employer 10th time this season. Mitchell is 9-0 vs. the Eagles.
Kentucky’s trip to California will mark the fifth straight season UK has faced a Pac-12 team in non-conference play. The Wildcats are 4-3 in that stretch and have played five different teams (Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, UCLA and Washington State).
UK has unblemished records all-time against six teams on its non-conference schedule sitting 2-0 vs. Stetson, 1-0 vs. Virginia, 1-0 vs. Grambling State, 5-0 vs. Austin Peay, 2-0 vs. Samford and 1-0 vs. Winthrop.
The faster football gets here, the quicker we can get to some hoops.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©August 20th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
Leading the way with a game-high 14 points, former Kentucky Wildcat star Evelyn Akhator helped lead Nigeria to a first-place victory over Senegal in the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket title this past Sunday. It was Nigeria’s second consecutive AfroBasket title.
You might remember Akhator as the highest-drafted WNBA player to ever come out of Lexington after she was drafted third overall in the 2017 WNBA Draft by the Dallas Wings. She currently plays overseas in Spain as a member of CB Avenida.
Playing center and standing at 6-foot-3, Akhator averaged 11 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.4 steals in five games during the tournament while shooting over 52 percent from the field. She was arguably the most efficient player on her team, as well.
While her WNBA career hasn’t quite panned out the way she might have anticipated, she dominated the competition in international play. She made a return to the WNBA earlier in 2019, however, she was not brought on board full-time after training camp ended.
An interesting side note that I noticed while watching the post-game press conference was the discovery of the coach of the Nigerian team. Otis Hughley Jr., a former NBA assistant, has been the Nigerian national team’s head coach since 2018. He was also the head coach on Loyalty Is Love, DeMarcus Cousins’ squad that won the Lexington Regional at The Basketball Tournament over the summer. Small world?
Congratulations are in order for Akhator, who we all hope to see back in the states and the WNBA sometime soon.
By Nick Roush on ©August 12th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
A former University of Kentucky star almost upset Team USA in the Pan-Am Games.
Representing Puerto Rico, Jennifer O’Neill scored a game-high 19 points and added three rebounds and three assists in a three-point semifinal loss to the Americans. Even though O’Neill’s squad lost, they still made it to the podium after defeating Columbia in the third-place game.
O’Neill’s best game in Peru was a 23-point performance against Brazil, the team that ultimately defeated the United States in the Gold Medal Game.
Before she began competing internationally, O’Neill starred for Matthew Mitchell’s Cats, finishing her career 14th on the program’s all-time scoring list. The 5-6 guard from the Bronx also ranks third in three-pointers made. You probably remember her best for her school-record 43 points in a four-overtime victory over Baylor in the ice game at Jerry World in 2013.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©July 28th, 2019 @ 12:30pm
If Rhyne Howard isn’t winning some sort of high-profile award at least once a month, did that month really happen?
After Howard led Team USA to a gold medal at the U19 FIBA Women’s World Cup on Sunday morning in Thailand, we can officially say that July of 2019 did, in fact, happen.
The US needed overtime to take down Australia in the final game but ultimately came out victorious with a 74-70 win and a shiny gold medal to complement the achievement. The win marks USA’s eighth gold medal in the U19 Women’s World Cup.
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 28, 2019
Howard added 10 points for the US after leading the team in scoring in the semifinal matchup against Belgium, where she poured in 14 points. Against Australia, she struggled from the field, shooting a mere 3-13 overall and 2-7 from deep. However, she played a team-high 38 minutes while pulling in seven boards and dishing out three dimes in addition to two steals and a block.
Team USA was down by three with 14 seconds left before an elbow from an Australian player connected with Howard’s face, leading to an unsportsmanlike foul and free throws for the US. Caitlin Clark would make one out of two free throws for the US followed by a Hailey Van Lith made-layup with 12.5 seconds left. They would outscore Australia 8-4 in the extra period.
In the semifinal game against Belgium on Saturday, Team USA was trailing by one with a little under three minutes left before Howard drilled a triple coming off a screen to put her team up two. Belgium would not score again and lost the game by eight.
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 27, 2019
Both Howard and US teammate Paige Bueckers was named to the All-U19 World Cup Team. Bueckers was also named Tournament MVP.
Howard will now return to the states with another piece of hardware to add to her collection. The rising sophomore has big expectations for the upcoming season as a Wildcat and after thriving on the international stage, I’d say she’s eager to attack the challenge. Get ready to familiarize Rhyne Howard as a household name.