To say Rachel Banham had a breakout year as rookie for the Gophers this season would be an understatement. The freshman from Lakeville, Minn., took her role as Minnesota's starting point guard this season and ran with it... literally.
It did not take her long to race to the team lead in numerous categories and it seemed like in the snap of a finger she was placing her name among the top players in the conference, being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week five times before eventually being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Not only that, but both league head coaches and media voted her to the All-Big Ten Second Team and the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
But, what is most impressive about her rookie resume is the fact that she put up numbers that top almost every other freshman in the BCS.
Among the six power conferences, the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, Banham ranks first in total points (518), field goals (196), three-point field goal percentage (.429) and is tied for the most points per game (16.2) with Washington's Jazmine Davis, while she also ranks second in free throw percentage (.813) and fourth in minutes per game (34.2).
The Minnesota native beat out the likes of UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Duke's Elizabeth Williams, who came into the season as the No. 1 and No. 2 recruits in the country, respectively. In fact, Banham's scoring numbers topped all 18 recruits' which ranked ahead of her in the 2011 ESPN HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings.
In addition, Banham ranks in the top-15 among BCS freshmen in field goal percentage (.414), three-point field goals (48), rebounds (178), rebounds per game (5.6), assists (83) and steals (50).