Gophers women’s basketball star Rachel Banham tore her right anterior cruciate ligament on Wednesday night against North Dakota and will miss the rest of the season, first-year Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings announced Thursday.
Another source with knowledge of the situation said Banham also partially tore the medial collateral ligament in the same knee.
It is unclear if Banham, a senior, would be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt.
The Lakeville North alumna had been at the precipice of the program’s career scoring record and had aspirations of making her first appearance in the NCAA tournament this season.
With 2,179 career points, Banham was 107 shy of Lindsay Whalen’s school record. Minnesota also was off to a solid 9-1 start. Last season the Gophers went 22-13 but missed the NCAA tournament and then lost in the third round of the NIT.
Banham suffered her knee injury in the first half of a 68-55 victory at North Dakota on a missed fast-break layup.
The 5-9 guard has dealt with knee injuries before. Last season she tweaked the same knee in a game against Miami (Fla.), but returned after missing only one game.
Banham, named the Big Ten preseason player of the year, was averaging 20 points, five assists and 4.7 rebounds before Wednesday and had been named to the Naismith Trophy women’s top-50 watch list earlier that day. □