Gophers Shop for Tots

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Go Gophers! Sari Noga and Joanna Hedstrom
Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

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Members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team used their break from games to start spreading holiday cheer to the Twin Cities community, as they shopped for and donated items for Toys for Tots and St. Joseph's Home for Children.

The money used to purchase gifts was donated by Gopher fans during toy drives held at select Minnesota home events, including women's and men's basketball and men's hockey games. In addition to the toys that were donated at the contests, fans also gave cash donations which equaled $3,000.

Senior Sari Noga and freshman Joanna Hedstrom took a portion of those donations to Target and selected gifts for the sometimes-forgotten teenage group, who also receive gifts through the toy drives set up on campus. Noga and Hedstrom carefully chose gifts such as books, CDs, makeup, perfume, hats and scarves and art supplies and then dropped off their gifts at St. Joseph's Home for Children.

The Gophers have a long tradition of giving back to the community, especially around the holiday season. Stay posted to to see how else the women's basketball team plans to give back during their break from classes.    

Banham Blogs for espnW

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Go Gophers! Rachel Banham
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

University of Minnesota junior guard Rachel Banham was selected to write a blog for espnW, where she will give fans an inside look at her life and chronicle the Gophers' 2013-14 season. In her first post of the year, Banham talks about her family and how her brothers helped her become the basketball player she is today.

You can read her blog by clicking here:

Banham Receives Recognition from espnW

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Go Gophers! Rachel Banham
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Go Gophers!
espnW's Top Five at Each Position

There has never been a doubt in the minds of Golden Gopher women's basketball fans that junior guard Rachel Banham is one of the best point guards in the country, and now the nation is taking notice as well. In a list of its top-five women's basketball players at each position, espnW recognized the Lakeville, Minn., native as one of the five-best point guards in the NCAA as selected by Charlie Creme, Kate Fagan, Graham Hays, Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel.

Banham was joined on the list by Baylor's Odyssey Sims, Oklahoma State's Tiffany Bias, Duke's Chelsea Gray and UConn's Bria Hartley, while fellow Big Ten standouts Maggie Lucas (Penn State) and Jordan Hooper (Nebraska) were listed among the top shooting guards and a small forwards, respectively.

The recognition is definitely fitting for the guard, as Banham was a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore after averaging 20.7 points and 3.9 assists per game. Her points-per-game average ranked 14th overall nationally, while she was the second-leading sophomore scorer in the NCAA. Banham recorded 16 20-plus point performances and five 30-plus point games last season, which included three 30-point outing over a four-game stretch of Big Ten contests from Jan. 28 to Feb. 7.

Banham enters her third season at Minnesota with 1,243 career points, which ranks 14th on the Gophers' all-time scoring list and is 151 points ahead of the total all-time leading scorer Lindsay Whalen scored during her first two seasons.


One Media Day Down, One to Go

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Minnesota women's basketball took part in the first of two Media Days this week, as head coach Pam Borton and the team's three captains -- senior Sari Noga, senior Micaella Riche and junior Rachel Banham -- met with reporters at Minnesota Basketball Media Day inside Williams Arena.

Borton and Banham took part in Media Day Live, as Gopher Radio Network play-by-play men Mike Grimm and Corbu Stathes spent about 10 minutes interviewing them about the upcoming season. The Gophers play the first of two exhibitions on Tuesday night, facing Winona State at The Barn at 7:00 p.m.

Coach Borton then addressed members of the media in a 15-minute press conference, followed by a 15-minute presser with the three captains.

After the team plays its exhibition game Tuesday, Coach Borton, Banham, Noga and Riche will depart late Wednesday afternoon for Thursday's Big Ten Media Day in Chicago. That will take place at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, making this a busy week for Borton and the players.

After they return from Chicago, Minnesota will play its second exhibition on Saturday afternoon, as it welcomes Minnesota State Moorhead to Williams Arena for a 2:00 p.m. tipoff.

For Tuesday's exhibition, all youth 7th grade and under will be admitted free of charge if they are wearing a Halloween costume, and those interested can take place in a costume contest at the half. All tickets for both exhibition games are just $6.

For ticket information, visit, or call 612.624.8080 or 1.800.U.GOPHER.

Tip-Off Dinner is a Success

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The Minnesota women's basketball program celebrated with its most loyal donors and fans on Wednesday evening, as the Fast Break Club held its annual Tip-Off Dinner at Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.

Head coach Pam Borton spoke to a nice-sized crowd that came to hear about the upcoming season. Borton introduced her staff, which remains the same for the third-straight season this year. She then introduced two of the Gophers' three captains - senior guard Sari Noga and junior guard Rachel Banham. Senior forward Micaëlla Riché was unable to attend due to a class conflict.

Minnesota is less than two weeks away from its first exhibition game against Winona State. The Gophers and Warriors will play at Williams Arena on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased by calling 612.624.8080 or 1.800.U.GOPHER, or online at


Parade, Practice and Special Delivery

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Minnesota women's basketball players had a busy Monday. In addition to their class schedules for the day, members of the team who didn't have a class conflict got together this morning to head over to Hennepin Avenue and watch the Minnesota Lynx victory parade. Pictured above are (l-r) Rachel Banham, Kayla Hirt, Amanda Zahui B., Sari Noga, Jackie Johnson, Stabresa McDaniel and Shayne Mullaney.

The Gophers joined thousands of others who gathered in the cool weather to celebrate Minnesota's second WNBA title in three years. Two key members of the Lynx are former Golden Gopher stars Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville. It was the second WNBA title for Whalen, while McCarville enjoyed her first-ever victory parade.

The stay at the parade was somewhat brief, as the team had been scheduled to practice from Noon to 3:00 p.m., but bumped the start of practice back an hour to allow those who wanted to see the parade the chance to go. So, once back on campus, the players geared up for a two-hour workout at Williams Arena.

Head coach Pam Borton's team is entering its third week of full workouts, and the Gophers' first exhibition game is just two weeks away! Minnesota will play host to Winona State on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that exhibition game, as well as the Gophers' game against Minnesota State Moorhead on Nov. 2, are on sale for $6.

To purchase tickets to any game, or to become season ticket-holders, contact Minnesota's Athletics Ticket Office at 612.624.8080 | 1.800.U.GOPHER, or online at

Speaking of tickets, members of the team ended their busy day by dividing up into three small groups after practice, and they headed off to personally deliver 2013-14 season tickets to several lucky Gopher women's basketball fans.

As they did last season, the Gophers added a personal touch to some of their biggest fans by showing up at their door to drop off the season tickets the fans ordered. Minnesota's players and coaches are so appreciative of the tremendous following they have from their loyal fans, and the team can't wait to have the chance to play games with those fans in their seats at Williams Arena. Go Gophers!

Pictured above (l-r): Kayla Hirt, Mikayla Bailey, Sue Corbin, Karen Lueck, Micaella Riche, and Jackie Johnson.

Pictured above (l-r): Kayla Hirt, Jackie Johnson, Mary Beth Barry, Micaella Riche, and Mikayla Bailey.

Pictured above (l-r): Amanda Zahui B., Rachel Banham, Karen and Cordell Guse, Shayne Mullaney.

Pictured above (l-r): Amanda Zahui B., Betsy Mitchell, Rachel Banham, Paul Mitchell, Shayne Mullaney.

Pictured above (l-r): Cynthia Fay, Shayne Mullaney, Amanda Zahui B., Rachel Banham, Stephanie Fay.

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Pictured above (l-r): Sari Noga, Dave Mona, Stabresa McDaniel.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Annette Margarit, Sari Noga.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Pam and Robert Berkwitz, Sari Noga.

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Pictured above (l-r): Stabresa McDaniel, Olivia, Margaret Chutich, and Sari Noga.

Whalen and McCarville Earn Their Title

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McCarville's Fancy Pass | McCarville's Rainbow Jumper | Trophy Presentation
Minnesota's WNBA Playoff Run in Photos (MPR) | Minnesota Lynx Recap

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Ten years after they began a collegiate season that led them to the NCAA Final Four as stars for the University of Minnesota, former Gopher women's basketball standouts Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville have finally won a title together.

Thursday night in Atlanta, the duo combined for 25 points and nine assists, as their Minnesota Lynx defeated the Atlanta Dream, 86-77, to sweep the series and win its second WNBA crown in three years.

Whalen scored 15 points, dished out six assists and grabbed three rebounds, while McCarville added 10 points, three assists, two steals and a pair of boards for the Lynx.

Whalen and McCarville also combined for 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Game 2 victory against the Dream at Target Center. For the WNBA Finals, Whalen averaged 10.7 points, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds, while McCarville averaged 9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

One of the defining moments of last night's title-clinching win in Atlanta was McCarville's steal, drive and amazing pass between her legs to Rebekkah Brunson on a fast break. That play helped give the Lynx some breathing room during a third-quarter run, allowing McCarville to earn her first WNBA title and give Whalen her second.

Minnesota women's basketball fans were so proud to see Whalen and McCarville walk off the court with their Lynx teammates last night. Congratulations on an amazing feat, 10 years after the incredible season for the Maroon and Gold!

Gophers Say Thanks to Deborah Olson

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Head coach Pam Borton and the Golden Gophers took some time before practice on Wednesday to personally thank Deborah Olson for her support of the Minnesota women's basketball program.

The coaches and players signed a large thank you card, which they presented to Deborah as the team huddled at mid court prior to practice. Deborah, who has provided support for multiple projects in athletics, took some time to speak to the team, and the group posed for a picture before starting practice.

"Deborah's friendship has meant a lot to Minnesota athletics and myself for many years," Borton said. "She is always willing to step to the plate to help make our program successful. She's very unselfish, because she doesn't do this for the recognition, but it means a lot to us that she is willing to go above and beyond to help keep our program competitive."

Gophers Have Fun at Women Run the Cities

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Members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball program, as well as its booster organization the Fast Break Club, were on hand at the third annual Women Run the Cities event at Minnehaha Park on Sunday.

Members of the team, as well as Goldy Gopher, helped line the course and provided loud cheers for the combined total of  3,000 competitors in the three races -- the Girls 1-mile Fun Run, the Women's 10-mile Run, and the Women's 5K Run/Walk.

Assistant coach Kelly Roysland and women's basketball office director Deborah Edwards both competed in the 5K event. Roysland finished 33rd among 115 competitors in her age group, while Edwards was 52nd out of 164 competing in her age group.

The event was organized by the Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women (MNCREW), with proceeds benefitting the Ann Bancroft Foundation and the CREW Network Foundation.

Pictured: (front, l-r) Mikayla Bailey, Kayla Hirt, Shayne Mullaney. (back, l-r) Stabresa McDaniel, Sari Noga, Rachel Banham, Amanda Zahui B., Joanna Hedstrom, Micaella Riche.

Pictured: Rachel Rodenborg and Sue Corbin of the Fast Break Club.

Pictured: Henry (dog), Kerry Edwards, Deborah Edwards, Eric Curry, Kelly Roysland, Karen Lueck and Sue Corbin.

Pictured: Karen Lueck, Goldy Gopher, Sue Corbin.

Newcomer Profile: Stabresa McDaniel

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Stabresa McDaniel is one of three freshmen on this year's roster. A 5-foot-10 guard from Dallas, Texas (Skyline HS), McDaniel is a nationally-ranked recruit who received a three-star ranking from, and was ranked No. 56 nationally at her position. She talks about her decision to leave the Lone Star State and play for the Gophers, as well as how summer training and her college life are going so far.

How is the adjustment to college life going for you? Is it pretty much what you expected it'd be like, or have there been some surprises?
College is going great so far! I knew it would different from high school, and I'm adjusting very well with my classes, teammates, and amazing coaches.

Did you feel as though you were prepared for summer training with the team? What might you do differently next year now that you know what to expect?
I don't know if anyone can be well prepared for what to expect for summer training as a freshman. You just have to get yourself mentally prepared before workouts and grind it out. For next year, since I already know some things, I would just workout on my own and work on areas that I want to get better at.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the program at Minnesota?
I just enjoy being around my team. It's good for us to be close, both on and off the court.

Being from Dallas, how long had Minnesota been on your radar as a possible college choice? What were the biggest influences on your decision to attend the U of M?
Minnesota was one of my top picks since the end of my junior year. I finally committed the beginning of my senior year after my visit. My dad was the biggest influence on helping me make my decision to come to the U of M. He is always someone I go to when I need to make big decisions. I just wanted to be someplace where it felt like a second home to me, and Minnesota was the right place to be.

What is something that hardly anyone knows about you?
Most people don't know that, as a kid, track used to be my main sport, not basketball. I really wanted to get a scholarship for track until eighth grade, when I started to love basketball more, and eventually gave up track to pursue basketball.

When you're away from basketball and your teammates, what do you enjoy doing most?
When I'm by myself, I usually just listen to music and watch a movie on Netflix. It keeps me entertained when I want to take a break from studying.

Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to do before a game?
Before and after my games, I always pray to clear my head to get focused. I also always put on my right sock before my left. I think, if I don't do that routine, I will have bad luck.

What are some artists or songs that are on your gameday playlist?
To get me pumped on gameday, I have to listen to Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, and J Cole.

How old were you when you started playing basketball, and what's your favorite basketball-related memory to this point?
My dad put me in basketball at age four. I played on a little YMCA team for a little bit, until I got older. My favorite basketball memory has to be my very last home game in high school. It was our Senior Night, my team did very well and it had finally hit me that I would be going off to college in a couple of months.

Who has been the biggest influence on your basketball career? And who is the player you admire most?
My biggest influence is my dad. Without him, I wouldn't have made it this far with his words of wisdom to keep me going. He has always been there for me, and I just want to make him proud. My two favorite players that I admire the most are Candace Parker and Maya Moore. I admire how much poise and love of the game they have for basketball, and they are team players.

Do you have a nickname?