There was a point this season where many people doubted if Kentucky would make the NCAA tournament. Everything changed in mid-February, as the Wildcats went on a run led by star guard Rhyne Howard.
For the third year in a row, Howard averaged at least 20 points per game during the regular season. She had some special performances in the SEC Tournament, dropping 32 points on LSU and 24 points on Tennessee.
Kentucky ultimately punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament by defeating South Carolina in the SEC Championship with a last-second shot from beyond the arc.
We caught up with Rhyne Howard to discuss Kentucky's run in the SEC Tournament, March Madness, her partnership with Wingstop and more.
The Spun: Can you tell me about your partnership with Wingstop and why it's a good fit for you?
Rhyne Howard: For me to partner with a brand, it has to be an authentic fit to who I am. And Wingstop’s mission of uplifting women’s story is something I’m really proud to be a part of, plus I love some wings.
The Spun: Kentucky has managed to rattle off 10 wins in a row. What changed for the team over the past month?
RH: We started playing with more confidence in ourselves. We also started just having fun within the game.
The Spun: March Madness came early for the Wildcats with that epic win over South Carolina. What was it like playing in a thriller like that?
RH: It was super exciting being a part of that game; we knew it was going to be a good one so we were really focused and locked in.
The Spun: Kentucky hadn't won the SEC Women's Basketball Tournament title since 1982. What'd it mean to be a part of the team that snapped the streak?
RH: It just showed how hard we worked for it despite everything we faced. Being a part of it just adds to our legacy.
The Spun: You've had such an incredible run at Kentucky. What have these past four years meant to you?
RH: These past four years have included a lot of ups and downs but at the end of the day I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
The Spun: How confident is the team heading into the NCAA Tournament?
RH: We are extremely confident and excited for the tournament because we know how much we can achieve and we love to prove people wrong.
The Spun: What does Kentucky need to do in order to win the national championship?
RH: We just need to keep having fun and believing in ourselves and stay focused on us. When we let loose and just play, we’re a dangerous team.
Howard has been an All-SEC performer throughout her career at Kentucky. When her collegiate career comes to an end, she'll be a top pick in the WNBA Draft.
For now, Howard is focused on bringing a national championship to Lexington.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.