The U.S. women's national basketball team is in training camp in Connecticut, and one of the subjects that's come up is the recent play of Gophers star guard Rachel Banham, who scored 52 points on Sunday to become the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer. That's on top of the 60 she scored earlier this week at Northwestern and the game-winning buzzer beater Banham made to beat Iowa last week.
Lynx point guard and Minnesota alum Lindsay Whalen told ESPN's Mechelle Voepel: "The most impressive to me was the game winner, down one, when she faded left and made it to win. That's big time."
Whalen added that she worked out with the Gophers a few times preparing for training camp, from which the U.S. Olympic team for this summer's game will be chosen, and she had a chance to visit with Banham about her recovery from the knee surgery that ended her 2014-15 season after 10 games.
"She said it was right around the start of Big Ten season that she kind of turned the corner mentally, and body-wise too. She was stronger and was able to gain a lot of confidence," Whalen told Voepel.
Others who weighed in were Elena Delle Donne, the 6-foot-5 Chicago star and WNBA Most Valuable Player in 2015, and Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry, who was a go-to player in college at Louisville.
Delle Donne: "I've relied on my height many times; when in doubt, I could often elevate and shoot over people. So Rachel has to have a different craftiness to her game to get through double- and triple-teams. That's what's really impressive about her."
McCoughtry: "Maybe the biggest challenge is when you have to take the last shot. You miss, and you feel like you let everybody down. You want to make it so bad, but you're not always going to be the hero."
In addition, the latest WNBA mock draft from Howard Megdal at Excelle Sports, has Banham, currently averaging 27.5 points per game, as the third pick overall and taken by Connecticut -- after his last draft had her going ninth to Indiana.