#13 Kentucky Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats
Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
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Coach Kyra Elzy started last season as the interim head coach. It only took a few weeks before that interim tag was removed. The Wildcats got off to a great start and managed to keep that momentum rolling throughout the tough SEC slate. The result was a four seed in the NCAA Tournament. With a couple starters moving on, Kentucky will need to do a little reloading, but Rhyne Howard is back and the two-time SEC Player of the Year and First-Team All-American will lead the Wildcats to another big season.
2020-21 Record: 18-9, 9-6
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kyra Elzy
Coach Record: 18-9 at Kentucky, 18-9 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Chasity Patterson, Guard, 12.4 ppg
KeKe McKinney, Forward, 6.0 ppg
Tatyana Wyatt, Forward, 3.9 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Rhyne Howard, Senior, Guard, 20.7 ppg
Dre’una Edwards, Junior, Forward, 9.7 ppg
Robyn Benton, Senior, Guard, 6.6 ppg
Blair Green, Senior, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Jazmine Massengill, Senior, Guard, 5.1 ppg
Olivia Owens, Junior, Center, 4.4 ppg
Treasure Hunt, Sophomore, Guard, 3.7 ppg
Nyah Leveretter, Sophomore, Forward, 1.0 ppg
Emma King, Junior, Guard, 0.4 ppg
Key New Players
Kristen Crenshaw-Gill, Freshman, Guard
Jada Walker, Freshman, Guard
Howard can do it all. Last season she averaged 20.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.5 steals. She hit a team high 56 three-pointers and used her 6-2 frame to attack the basket and finish or get to the charity stripe. Howard will carry this team, but she will need some help if Kentucky is going to make a deep tournament run. There is no lack of experience in the backcourt. Senior Blair Green started 18 games in 2020-2021 and averaged 6.0 points per game. Jazmine Massengill is another senior with starting experience. Massengill makes the biggest impact setting up her teammates, but she can shoot the ball too. Robyn Benton was the most explosive scorer off the bench last season and was fourth on the team with 6.6 points per game. Treasure Hunt has the most upside. She got better as her freshman campaign progressed and will now be asked to play a much larger role. Dre’una Edwards will be the new star of the frontcourt. She averaged 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds and should be a full-time starter this season after earning 11 starts in 2020-2021. Coach Elzy may have to run a four-guard lineup unless Nyah Leveretter or Olivia Owens are ready to step into a starting role. Owens, a 6-4 junior, averaged 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game during her first season with Kentucky after transferring in from Maryland. She is a superb talent and once everything clicks, she will be very productive. If that happens this season, Kentucky will have the frontcourt depth they need to be a serious competitor for an SEC title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.0 (47th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.4 (194, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.8 (69, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (239, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.2 (69, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.6 (51, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (94, 5)
Rebound Margin: -0.7 (187, 10)
Assists Per Game: 13.8 (118, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (23, 2)
Madness 2022 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#1 Rhyne Howard
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#108 Jada Walker