Gophers' Banham named Big Ten's top freshman

  • Article by: STAFF and WIRE REPORTS
  • Updated: February 28, 2012 - 7:20 AM

The former Lakeville North star averaged 16.1 points per game.


Rachel Banham (1) of Minnesota was fouled by Brandi Jeffery (13) of Nebraska in the first half of a women's college basketball game on Monday, February 13, 2012, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Mct

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Expected to be the Gophers' leader from Day 1, Rachel Banham was just that.

As a result, the point guard from Lakeville North was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year on Monday, the second Gophers women's basketball player to receive the award.

Banham was named the conference's top freshman by both the media and the coaches after a 2011-12 season that saw her lead the Gophers in scoring at 16.1 points per game, good for seventh in the Big Ten. She also averaged 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists and led the team in minutes at 34.2 per game.

"My coach kind of threw me into that position where I just had to go with it and be able to compete and fit in right away," Banham said on the Big Ten Network's "Women's Sports Report" awards show. "Right in the first game, I felt pretty comfortable."

The 5-9 Banham was named conference freshman of the week five times and has scored at least 10 points in 26 consecutive games heading into the Big Ten tournament. She joined Janel McCarville in 2002 as Gophers named Freshman of the Year.

Banham also was named second-team All-Big Ten on both teams. Gophers senior guard Kiara Buford was named honorable mention on both teams.

"Rachel has proven over and over with her play and consistency that she can flourish at this level and on the national scene," coach Pam Borton said in a release. "For her to come in and do the things she has done for our program, and to make a statement in the Big Ten like she has again and again has been remarkable."

Ohio State senior guard Samantha Prahalis was named Player of the Year by both coaches and the media, the eighth consecutive year a Buckeyes player has won the award. Prahalis averaged 20.4 points and 6.5 assists per game, and with 889 assists, she is four away from becoming the Big Ten's career leader.

Both media and coaches selected the same first team. Joining Prahalis on the team was Buckeyes backcourt mate Tayler Hill. The Minneapolis South product and Minnesota's all-time leading high school scorer, Hill led the conference at 20.7 points per game, good for 12th-best in Division I. Hill, a junior, was also named to the all-defensive team for the second year in a row.

Rounding out the first team were guards Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas of Big Ten champion Penn State and Nebraska forward Jordan Hooper. Penn State's Coquese Washington was named Coach of the Year.

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Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 2
Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister 3 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle - LP: F. Rodney 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 3
Boston - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: L. Garcia 4
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: J. Williams 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland - LP: D. Pomeranz 4 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 4
Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 2
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 111 FINAL
Milwaukee 103
Dallas 105 FINAL
Memphis 106
Detroit 111 FINAL
Oklahoma City 112
Houston 100 FINAL
New Orleans 105
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Brooklyn 85 FINAL
Cleveland 114
Philadelphia 100 FINAL
Miami 87
Utah 136 FINAL
Minnesota 130
Washington 118 FINAL
Boston 102
Toronto 92 FINAL
New York 95
Golden State 116 FINAL
Denver 112
LA Clippers 104 FINAL
Portland 110
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Montreal 5 FINAL(OT)
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 3 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
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