Banham Named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year
Minneapolis , MN (GopherSports.com) - Rachel Banham of Minnesota women’s basketball has been named the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year. A panel of voters selected her over candidates representing a variety of sports at all 14 of the conference’s member schools.
Banham is the first Gopher basketball player to win the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year Award. She is Minnesota’s third recipient of the award, with swimming and diving’s Gretchen Hegener (1997) and hockey’s Amanda Kessel (2013) being the other two. Banham is the conference’s first basketball player to win the honor since Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport in 2007.
The Lakeville, Minn., native is the conference’s all-time leading scorer with 3,093 career points. She was named Big Ten Player of the Year after a historic senior campaign that saw her rewrite the record books and capture national attention.
Banham traveled to Los Angeles in April as a top-five finalist for the John R. Wooden Award. She was also a First-Team All-American on the Associated Press, espnW and USBWA’s rosters.
Averaging a school-record 28.6 points per game for the season, Banham was second in the nation in scoring. She upped her scoring pace to average a conference-record 30.5 points within Big Ten play. An NCAA record-tying 60-point performance at Northwestern was just one of Banham’s three games scoring 40-plus this season, as she added 52 at Michigan State and 48 in the WNIT against Milwaukee.
Minnesota’s game (60), season (914) and career (3,093) scoring records all belong to Banham after the 2015-16 season. She also holds all three 3-point records with 10 in a game, 119 in a season and 354 in her career.
At the end of the season, Banham was drafted fourth overall by the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. She was the first non-UConn player selected.