Rachel Banham

Recent Articles

Greater diversity unlikely in post-Borton Gopher women’s basketball

 

 

Thus far, Gopher AD Norwood Teague is two-for-two in firing coaches in consecutive years. He fired Pam Borton as the school’s women’s basketball coach, seemingly less than 24 hours after her last game last week. She got the ziggy in less time than Tubby Smith got axed around this same time nearly a year ago. Borton was my fifth coach I covered as the longest tenured Gopher women hoops beat writer, She had her faults — no coach is perfect, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t convince too many local Black females to play for her.  

Former Gopher Leah Cotton, who played for Borton (2010-13), recently spoke to the MSR while in town for the team’s Senior Night March 2. Continue Reading →

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March madness continues

 

 

The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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NCAA shot still pending for Gophers women (updated)

 

INDIANAPOLIS — The waiting game is now underway. Minnesota (20-12) is .500 (1-1) thus far this post season. The women’s basketball team will know this Monday whether or not their proverbial “body of work” has earned them their first NCAA at-large berth since 2009. Nearly everyone who the MSR talked to here in Indianapolis last week thinks they have:

“I think Minnesota deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament,” says Nebraska Coach Connie Yori, whose league tourney champion Huskers twice defeated the Gophers this season, including a 13-point win in the Big Ten quarterfinals March 7. “With the strength of our league and their RPI (38), I think they need to be in the NCAA Tournament.”

The Gophers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a first-round overtime win after being down 16 points in the second half over Wisconsin. Continue Reading →

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March Madness begins

 

 

Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →

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Keep Pam: Firing Gopher women’s basketball coach won’t solve team’s problems

I’ve been approached of late by several Gopher women’s basketball fans. I listen attentively but with a non-committal demeanor as they complain about the current head coach. And as much as they’d hoped I would agree with them, thus far I have avoided such traps. Let me be perfectly clear — I don’t advocate for any coaches losing their jobs. It’s so easy for non-coaches, eh, fans to give ziggies from their seats. Continue Reading →

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Gophers WBB falls again

 

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. — In a few days, Penn State and several other Big Ten women’s hoop squads will learn where their March playing schedule takes them next. But unlike the regular season champions, the Lady Lions, who are assured their spot, the Gophers aren’t sure of theirs. “We just let the basketball gods figure it out,” admitted U of M Coach Pam Borton last Thursday after her team’s nine-point loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten tourney’s first round as she referred to the NCAA selection committee. “It’s out of our hands,” added Ohio State senior guard Tayler Hill of her Buckeyes’ chances. Continue Reading →

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Gopher women look strong going into 2013 Big 10 conference play

 

All 12 Big Ten women’s basketball squads begin conference play this week with a winning record. Minnesota (11-3) plays at Michigan State Thursday in East Lansing, then at Wisconsin next Sunday. Gopher Coach Pam Borton told the MSR after her squad’s double-overtime win over Creighton that she believes her squad’s non-conference schedule has readied them for what is to come. “I think we’re prepared,” she pointed out. “We’ve played a wide range of teams. We’ve seen a lot of different types of defenses and offenses, a lot of different styles. Continue Reading →

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U of M hoopsters off to promising start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2012-13 college basketball season is now underway. Both Minnesota teams opened their campaigns last week with wins, but it’s way too early to call the season a success…

The Gophers men’s team also was successful in their home opener versus American University last weekend, but like Borton, men’s coach Tubby Smith said one win can’t be satisfying. His team must be intense from jump ball to final buzzer, he noted. To read more about this story, pick up a copy of the MSR newspaper:

http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/msr-print-edition-pick-up-locations/”http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/msr-print-edition-pick-up-locations/

 

Or become an MSR subscriber:

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Continue Reading →

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Gophers tackle represents local talent on the team

It’s a rarity in Gopher football to see a player listed on its current roster from the Minneapolis City Conference. It’s even rarer that a city player is a starter as well. Ra’Shede Hageman is that rarity. Hageman plays nose tackle this season for Minnesota (5-3). He formerly played tight end at Minneapolis Washburn but was switched to the defensive line when he was redshirted in 2009. Continue Reading →

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Black lawmakers almost killed Title IX

Landmark bill caught in race vs. gender  equity wrangling

 

Long before Title IX, Black females have been participants in sport. “There [always] has been a strong African American women presence in sport,” notes Ohio State Sport Humanities Associate Professor Sarah Fields, author of “Race v. Gender: How Constructions of Title IX Have Failed Women of Color.”

Blacks and other female athletes of color in action scenes were included in racially motivated “endangered exhibits” at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. “In the 1930s…there were strong [women] basketball leagues in some Black colleges, and they played against each other,” continues the professor. Continue Reading →

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