Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard is proving to be a wrecking ball in international basketball.
The sophomore-to-be, who was named MVP of last year’s U18 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City, is putting together another high-level performance in this summer’s U19 World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand.
Howard scored a game-high 18 points Tuesday as Team USA defeated Hungary 95-50 to close out group play with a 3-0 record. The United States, coached by Louisville’s Jeff Walz, moved on to the single-elimination round of 16 where it was to face Germany (0-3) on Wednesday at 3:30 a.m. EDT.
The quarterfinals are Friday, the semifinals Saturday and the championship game Sunday.
Howard made four of seven three-point attempts and all six of her free throws in Tuesday’s win, scoring all 18 of her points in the first half.
“We know that if we play the right way now, then we’ll do it in a close game,” Howard told USA Basketball. “So, we had to keep that on our minds, so that we stay prepared for if we have a close game. We need to keep playing for each other and looking to get our teammates shots instead of playing a one-on-one game.”
Howard leads Team USA in scoring through the first three games, averaging 15.0 points. She is 11-for-20 from three-point range (55 percent) and is averaging 6.7 rebounds per contest.