A longer offseason than anyone anticipated wasn't long enough for Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard to forget one of the more curious snubs in recent women's college basketball annals.
Asked Monday about being left off the WBCA All-America team this past spring, Howard didn't hide her lingering frustration.
"It's definitely a huge motivator for me," Howard said, "because I just felt like that was just so disrespectful towards me and towards my game."
Howard's sophomore season was by most accounts a complete success. The SEC freshman of the year for the 2018-19 season returned and was the conference's player of the year a season ago as a sophomore. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 23.4 points per game for the 22-8 Wildcats, the second-best average in the nation. She also earned SEC all-defensive honors.
Although recognized as one of five first-team All-Americans by both The Associated Press and the John R. Wooden Award, Howard was not among the 10 WBCA All-Americans. That list included both Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter and South Carolina's Tyasha Harris, players she beat out for SEC player of the year, and three players from Oregon.
"For them to just leave me out, I was hurt a little bit," Howard said. "But then I was like 'All right, now you all really have just made me mad because now I was really taking it easy and now I can't.'"
Recognition shouldn't be an issue this season, when she is widely viewed as the preseason favorite for national individual honors. But Howard said that didn't bother her as she tried to lead Kentucky to an SEC title and the program's first Final Four.
"I don't feel any pressure because I don't feel a reason to be pressured," Howard said. "I have my teammates behind me, and we have a great team this year."