Clark, Joens, Czinano are AP All-Americans
NEW YORK — Rhyne Howard has joined an exclusive group by becoming a three-time Associated Press All-American.
The Kentucky senior became the ninth player in women’s basketball history to earn first-team honors three times, getting a spot on the team announced Wednesday.
“That’s huge. Definitely selective company. To be a three-time, and one of nine, now that’s something you had to work for,” Howard said. “I don’t know how to explain it. I was glad I was able to accomplish that.”
Howard was joined on the first team by South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith, Michigan’s Naz Hillmon and Stanford’s Haley Jones. Hillmon and Jones tied for the fifth spot.
Boston, Clark and Smith were unanimous choices from the 30-member national media panel that votes in the AP Top 25 each week.
Howard helped Kentucky get on a roll at the end of the regular season and win the SEC Tournament. She averaged 20.6 points this season to go with 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 steals for the Wildcats.
Boston has been dominant on both ends of the floor to help South Carolina go wire-to-wire as No. 1 in the AP poll and earn the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The junior post averaged 16.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and set an SEC record for consecutive games with a double-double.
Clark put up eye-popping numbers for the second straight year and became the first female player to lead the country in both scoring and assists. She averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.9 assists to help Iowa win both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.
“Her repeat selection to such a prestigious team demonstrates her consistency and commitment to growth,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. “To lead the country in points and assists for two years is absolutely remarkable.”
Smith earned first-team honors for the second consecutive season. Baylor’s senior forward averaged 22.5 points and 11.5 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the field. She helped the Bears win a 12th consecutive Big 12 regular-season championship.
Hillmon became the first Michigan player ever to earn first-team honors, a year after being on the second team. She helped Michigan to its highest ranking ever and averaged 21.0 points and 9.4 rebounds.
Jones, who was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four last year when Stanford won the national championship, averaged 13.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists this year.
Howard, Clark, Boston, Smith and UConn’s Paige Bueckers made up the preseason All-America team. Bueckers missed two months with a knee injury, but earned honorable mention honors. This was the first time since 2007 that no UConn players were on an AP All-America team.
The AP second team was headlined by Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee, who scored 61 points earlier this season to set a new NCAA women’s single-game scoring record. She was joined by Ashley Joens of Iowa State, Aneesah Morrow of DePaul, Khayla Pointer of LSU and Elissa Cunane of North Carolina State.
Joens becomes the fourth Cyclone to make an AP All-America team. The senior led Iowa State averaging 20.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game en route to her third-consecutive unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection. She also leads the team with a career-best 84 3-pointers.
Joens’ appearance on an AP All-America team is the first of her career, earning honorable mention honors the last two seasons. She’s Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer (2,307 points) and third-leading rebounder (1,052).
The AP third team was Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley, Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist, Northwestern’s Veronica Burton, Stanford’s Cameron Brink and Maryland’s Angel Reese. It’s the first time Virginia Tech, Northwestern and Villanova have had a player on one of the AP All-America teams.
Iowa senior post Monika Czinano earned her first All-America selection as an honorable mention. In 30 games this season, Czinano averaged 21.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and led the country by shooting 67.8 percent from the field.