Deedra Howard is the fifth individual from the women’s basketball program to be inducted into the Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame.
Howard is one of the top players in the history of the program and was a leader on the team throughout her time on campus. By the time she finished her eligibility in 1993, she helped lead the then-Rifles to a 75-39 record and the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Division II Regional.
Howard was simply dominant in the post. She burst onto the scene as a freshman, averaging 14.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in helping lead the team to a 17-10 record as a starter in 26 games for head coach Tammy Holder in 1989-90. She had a solid sophomore season as well, helping the team to an 18-10 record in 1990-91. She averaged 14.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game en route to being named first team all-conference in the Peach Belt Conference in the program’s first season playing on the NCAA Division II level. She continued to turn in strong performances as a junior, averaging 14.5 points and 9.4 rebounds as a junior.
Howard’s breakout year came during her senior season in 1992-93 under the direction of first-year head coach Peggy Sells. Howard led the team to a 28-3 overall record and a perfect 16-0 mark in the Peach Belt, the first team in league history and one of two overall to finish with an undefeated record in league play. She and her then-Lady Rifle teammates set the PBC record with a 21.4 scoring margin in a season. The team went on to secure the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament and the first of three consecutive trips to the NCAA DII Regional. It also established the program record with a 26-game winning streak.
The 1992-93 season also saw many personal accolades come Howard’s way. She finished the year averaging 18.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game en route to being named the PBC Player of the Year and a first team all-conference selection. She also became one of just four players in the history of the program to earn All-America honors. Her name adorns the Upstate record books as her numbers alone speak volumes of her career. She ranks second all-time in scoring with 1,701 points and third all-time with 920 rebounds. She tops the all-time record list with 777 made field goals and 1,502 field goal attempts. She also ranks in the Top 10 in 11 other statistical categories. She owns four single-season school records (field goals, field goal attempts, games played and games started) and ranks in the Top 5 in eight single-season categories.
Howard spent the 1993-94 season as an assistant coach with the program and helped the team win the Peach Belt regular season and tournament championships, while securing a second appearance in the NCAA DII Regional and a No. 13 ranking in the NCAA DII National Top 20 poll. She continued her playing career after she graduated from Upstate with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1994. She played semi-professional ball with the Charlotte Stars and the Smoky Mountain Swarm.
Howard has worked for one company since earning her degree from Upstate, remaining in the Spartanburg community while working at adidas. She began as an entry level summer student assistant in TFE logistics and progressed to being named a lead person in the department in 2006. She was promoted to supervisor in 2007 and has managed several special projects, including closing the original facility. She received the Bravo Zulu Award in 2000 for excelling in her daily job performance.
A native of Belton, S.C., she was an all-state and all-star performer at Belton-Honea Path High School. She was named the 3A Player of the Year as a senior.