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Rhyne Howard Returns to Full-Form Against Florida

(Photo by UK Athletics)

(Photo by UK Athletics)

As crazy as it may seem, 8 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 7 steals against Tennessee wasn’t enough to satisfy Rhyne Howard. So, in response, she went out and dropped 31 points and 9 assists in Kentucky’s win over Florida on Monday night. The Kentucky star knew what she had to do coming into the game and intended on executing.

“I knew I had to come in and make this a game and be more of a threat offensively,” Howard said at a postgame press conference on Monday. “It did also just kinda come to me.”

For Howard, 31 points games are not a surprise. The reigning SEC Player of the Year is the fourth player in school history to have at least six career 30-point games. Furthermore, she is only the second player ever at UK to have three 30-point games in consecutive seasons.

Howard has earned every bit of her respect while at Kentucky. The 6-foot-2 guard not only has been the leading performer this season, but she’s stepped up vocally as well. This kind of leadership led to not only trust from her coaches, but confidence. Coach Elzy discussed Howard’s bounce-back game with media after the win in Gainesville.

“She had some great looks against Tennessee, the ball just didn’t go in, and that happens some time,” Coach Elzy said. “Tonight she did a great job of coming off the screen, getting open threes, getting to the basket and finishing through contact.”

Getting open threes, indeed. Howard shook her defenders all night with nasty step-backs leading to wide-open looks. Open looks that Howard didn’t let go to waste. Howard went 12/20 from the field and 4/7 from behind the arc.

Check out just one of her many step-backs below.

Despite Howard seemingly being on fire from outside, she certainly didn’t have a one-dimensional game. Howard kept her defenders honest all night with tough finish after tough finish. The long guard used her lanky build to fancily finish over top of defenders all night long.

Check out just a couple of these ridiculous buckets below.

If you ask me, it’s always Rhyne time and I think Coach Elzy would agree. Howard is currently averaging a team-high 35 minutes per game on the season and nearly 37 minutes per game in conference play. Coach Elzy knows exactly how much of a difference Howard makes on the court and plays her accordingly.

And although Coach Elzy may work Howard like a dog on the court, they undoubtedly have a lot of fun off the court, especially on social media.

Whatever Coach Elzy is doing to get Howard ready for these games, keep it up. Howard is currently on multiple award watchlists including the Cheryl Miller Award and the Naismith Player of the Year Award.

Howard will have to keep up her high-scoring antics as the ‘Cats will head into choppy waters against a battle-tested LSU team. The Wildcats won’t have much time to rest as they square off against the Tigers on Thursday at 7 p.m. Nevertheless, if one thing is certain, Rhyne Howard will be ready to perform again come tip-off.

Article written by Grant Grubbs