Rachel Banham

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Gopher women on their own this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

The Gopher women are a couple of weeks removed from their first-ever WBI championship. “There were only three teams that get to win their last game, and we were one of those,” notes Coach Pam Borton. It wasn’t the NCAAs or WNIT, but the little-known tourney gave Borton’s 10 returning players an experience plank to build upon. “It was an upswing,” continues the coach. “I think we accomplished some things that we hadn’t accomplished the two previous years before. Continue Reading →

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Gophers win WBI

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Minnesota women’s basketball team accomplished something that the other 11 Big Ten teams failed to do — win its final game of the season. Minnesota’s first victory of the 2011-12 season came last November in the WBI (Women’s Basketball Invitational) Tip-off Classic. The squad’s season-ending win last Sunday was a 88-74 win over Northern Iowa for the WBI championship at Williams Arena. The Gophers, finishing 19-17, was the first Big Ten team to play in the three-year WBI post-season tournament. “For us to end the way we have — 7-3 in our last 10 games — shows some of our positives and also some of the things we really have to get better on for next year,” admits U of M Coach Pam Borton after Sunday’s win. Continue Reading →

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Metro prep stars grow up to become college winners

 

I took it easy this past week and watched five former metro-area prep basketball players help their college teams to key victories. Check this out! Sophomore center ROYCE WHITE (Hopkins), Mr. Basketball in 2009, had 18 points and nine rebounds in leading Iowa State to a 73-64 upset of fifth-ranked Kansas. Freshmen sensation RACHEL BANHAM (Lakeville North), named Miss Basketball in 2011, led the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team with 20 points in a 76-65 win over number-nine Ohio State. Senior guard KIARA BUFORD (St. Continue Reading →

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Leah Cotton: Gopher guard has junior-year growing pains

 

 

It is known as a sophomore slump when a second-year player struggles, but thus far there is no known term when this occurs during a player’s third season. Call it what you want, but this is what U-M junior guard Leah Cotton currently is experiencing. 

Cotton averaged nine points in five non-league games, but since she was inserted in the Minnesota starting lineup by Minnesota Coach Pam Borton, the 5-8 guard’s scoring average is only 6.7 points in conference match-ups. Only three games has she shot 50 percent or better as a starter as well. Her seven-point average overall is three points less than the 10.7 points per game Cotton had in her sophomore year last season. Earlier this season, the young lady brimmed with confidence. Continue Reading →

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Three-point review of Gophers men’s and women’s basketball

 

 
 
By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer
 
A seven-game review of Minnesota women’s basketball at this point of the season yields the following three points:
First point: Billed before the season as the missing piece, Rachel Banham thus far seemingly has made a smoother transition as freshman starting point guard than her male counterpart Andre Hollins (more on him later). “I think she’s doing a great job getting a feel of things, and she’s playing a lot of minutes. She’s really pushing tempo and keeping our team playing fast,” surmises Coach Pam Borton. Second point: Will junior Leah Cotton ever play “unplugged”? Yes, she makes mistakes (i.e., silly fouls), but often makes up for it with hustle and ball hawking on defense. Continue Reading →

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