Lindsay Whalen Final FourEach Tuesday throughout the summer on the official Minnesota Gophers Facebook page (be sure to "like" us if you don't already) we'll be highlighting a great moment in Gopher history to help populate our Facebook Timeline.

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March 30, 2004: Lindsay Whalen and the Gopher women's basketball team stuns top-seeded Duke 82-75 to advance to the Final Four.

Lindsay Whalen was already a Minnesota icon before March 30, 2004. Yet that was the night she solidified her place among the all-time greats in Gopher lore.

The Hutchinson native's 27 points (to go along with 20 and 18 rebounds from teammate Janel McCarville) capped one of the more improbable Final Four runs in women's NCAA history -- the Gophers rolled past the first, second and third-seeded teams in the Midwest Regional that season before falling to UConn in the semifinal.

"Coach Borton said the most aggressive team was going to win and that's the way we've played all year," Whalen said after the game. "Tonight we just got a few things to go for us and we just played loose and played together."

The performance earned Whalen's Gophers a banner in Williams Arena -- and a lasting place in the memories of Gopher fans for years to come.

25 Things You Don't Know About...Micaella Riche

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Go Gophers! Micaella Riche
Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!
Micaella Riche is coming off a very successful sophomore campaign in which she made her way into the Golden Gophers' starting lineup and concluded the year as one of Minnesota's top rebounders. Here, the forward from Gloucester, Ontario, shares 25 things that Gopher fans may not know about her.
  1. I LOVE getting my nails done. They can't be short and painted, they NEED to be long.
  2. I force my brothers to have slumber parties with me and stay up late talking about stuff.
  3. Instagram makes me believe I'm a pro in photography.
  4. I believe that everyone was placed on earth to accomplish a mission.
  5. I love preparing my food so that it looks really pretty. Then I tend to eat slower.
  6. All I have at home is fruit, vegetables, cheerios, milk, applesauce and chicken. I LOVE IT.
  7. I don't get bored of eating the same foods because I am creative with them.
  8. Out of season, I am obsessed with running outside.
  9. Because of Alex, I am now obsessed with yoga.
  10. Sometimes, for some reason, I act like I'm 5'5 and weigh 150 lbs.
  11. I love to break out in random convulsions that I call dancing. Rachel joins too.
  12. I sleep with socks 95% of the time because I feel like spiders will crawl on my toes.
  13. The littlest things make me unbelievably happy.
  14. I'm obsessed with anything that has a cute pattern or color. It could be a hammer and I'd want to buy it.
  15. I pray in my mind all the time. Especially on the court. I'm also a strong believer... Leah got me back into it :)
  16. I want my hair to be long. Down to the middle of my back. Like NOW.
  17. If you don't ask me to sing along, I will. But if you tell me to I get so shy. Except for when I'm around Leah.
  18. I have no filter. I will say almost everything that comes to my mind. Especially if it's nice.
  19. I am the most ticklish person alive. Do not tickle me unless you are trying to get knocked out (accidentally, of course).
  20. If I'm reading and a word is spelled the same in English and French, at the moment that I'm reading it I have NO IDEA how to pronounce it in English, even if i know the word.
  21. I love to think that I know every answer in class. I often end up getting excited and yelling the wrong answer. Or as the prof says: "Uhm... yea that's part of it..." But when I get it right I think I'm cool.
  22. I am OBSESSED with everything being neat, in order and stacked well, and it needs to look pretty too.
  23. I'm already saving up for my apartment after college. I love home decor and can't wait to decorate it. Perfectly. With all of my OCD standards.
  24. I have approximately eight or nine journals that I love to write in. I write everything down.
  25. I am absolutely madly in love with every one of my teammates and I would do anything for any one of my sisters!

25 Things You Don't Know About...Amanda Zahui B.

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Amanda Zahui03.jpgAmanda Zahui B. is the newest addition to the 2012-13 Golden Gopher roster, and though we know that she hails from Stockholm, Sweden and is one of the best basketball players in her country, the rookie shares 25 things fans may not know about her.

  1. I HATE feet
  2. Everytime I get hiccups, I have to say "Air Jordan"
  3. I need to have too big basketball shoes
  4. I hate scary movies
  5. I love to scare people
  6. I want at least 5 kids
  7. Sometimes I have orange juice in my water bottle instead of water
  8. I love slow jams
  9. I love to write stuff
  10. I have a crazy hiccup
  11. I love to see my friends fall (not so they get hurt!)
  12. I would love to be Spongebob's friend
  13. I love old school music
  14. Last time I walked into Footlocker, I started to cry
  15. I had a turtle and his name was Drake
  16. I wanted to buy him a wife - Nicki Minaj
  17. I can't sing at all
  18. ...but I like to sing like I am Beyonce
  19. I love the summer
  20. I love to sleep in the sun
  21. I listen to Justin Beiber
  22. I love his song Boyfriend
  23. ...and Baby
  24. I have a younger brother
  25. I am afraid of dogs

Four Gophers Earn Their Degrees

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Go Gophers! Seniors 2012
Go Gophers!

Though their playing careers as Gophers may be over, the lives of Minnesota women's basketball seniors Kiara Buford, Brianna Mastey, Nicole Mastey and Jackie Voigt are just beginning, as all four recently earned their degrees from the University of Minnesota.

Buford received her bachelor's degree in journalism in December, while Voigt earned her bachelor's degree in sports management in May 2011. Both Buford and Voigt are now working toward a Master's of Education in applied kinesiology with an emphasis in sports management.

Brianna Mastey earned her bachelor's degree in sport management, while her sister Nicole Mastey received her degree in recreation, park and leisure studies this month.

In their time at Minnesota, the quartet combined to earn 12 Academic All-Big Ten honors, two Big Ten Distinguished Scholar awards, two Big Ten Sportsmanship Awards and helped the team earn the Gladys Brooks Commitment to Academic Excellence Award.

Listing all of the academic accomplishments of these women does not even begin to credit them for everything they have contributed to the women's basketball program, the University of Minnesota and the Twin Cities-area community, and we wish them the best of luck as they take on the world.

Gophers Mentor Girls at Maplewood Middle School

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Photo Gallery

Members of the Minnesota women's basketball team took time out of their busy schedules recently to mentor girls at nearby Maplewood Middle School.

During the outing, nearly 100 middle school girls were split up into small groups, where the Golden Gophers were able to tell the individual stories of how they became involved in basketball and how they balance their school work, personal time and athletics.

"This event was great," guard Rachel Banham said. "We got to bond with a lot of young girls. It was really fun. I got a lot of questions about basketball and a lot of questions about school and everything they have to do to be successful. It was a great experience."

The experience is one of many that Minnesota women's basketball players were able to experience this season, as the Gophers concluded the 2011-12 academic year with the second-highest average of community service hours among the school's 23 athletic programs.

A Decade Later, Whalen Returns to the Sports Pavilion

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Go Gophers! Lindsay Whalen
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!
The last time Lindsay Whalen had played a game in the Sports Pavilion, she was a sophomore wearing a Golden Gophers jersey. It was 2002. Pluto was still a planet, the Oklahoma City Thunder was still the Seattle Supersonics, and no one yet owned an iPhone.

The Gopher women moved to Williams Arena in 2002. Whalen returned to the Sports Pavilion yesterday afternoon for an exhibition game between her Minnesota Lynx and the Chicago Sky. In the decade between her Pavilion appearances, Whalen has made a Final Four run, been traded from the Connecticut Sun to her hometown team, and won a WNBA Championship.

She had actually played an exhibition game in Williams Arena as a member of the Sun, but this was her first time back in the Pavilion, and her first time playing at the University of Minnesota as a member of the Lynx.

Although the game was in the Pavilion, the Lynx used the basketball locker room in Williams Arena. The hallway walls outside the locker room--as well walls and trophy cases within the locker room itself--bear images of Whalen and the rest of the Gophers' 2004 Final Four team. Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said that Whalen took some ribbing from teammates for this.

It was all in good fun. Reeve also said that her team wanted to perform well for Whalen at her former home arena. The team delivered. The crowd of 4,102 saw the Lynx take a 40-25 lead into halftime and win by a final score of 82-61.

Whalen played 22 of 40 minutes. She scored nine points, distributed eight assists, and added five rebounds. A few of her scoring highlights included a crossover and step-back jumper, and an and-one layup to open the second half.

She also displayed her usual hustle and toughness, flying out of bounds and through some seats. But Reeve was not worried about the possibility of injury.

"Whay is a hockey player playing basketball," she said. "She takes all kinds of hits. It doesn't ever worry me. Occasionally she gets up a little slower, but I know she's going to get up."

Whalen is one of the big reasons the Lynx won the 2011 WNBA title. Virtually the entire roster from last season remains intact in 2012. The team has a shot to become the first back-to-back league champions since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002. The Lynx will open their regular season on Sunday against the Phoenix Mercury.

For a final preseason tune-up on the road to a repeat, it's hard to imagine a better place for Whalen than the court that helped to launch her into the national spotlight. Ten years after her last college game in the Pavilion, and eight years after her Gopher finale, she still holds a special place Minnesota basketball fans' hearts.

Banham Named Top Rookie at Golden Goldys

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Rachel Banham capped off her impressive freshman campaign by being named the Minnesota Female Rookie of the Year at the 2012 Golden Goldys held Monday night at TCF Bank Stadium.

The University of Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics department recognized both the athletic and academic achievements of its 750 student-athletes during the event. It marked the sixth year of the Golden Goldys and the 23rd year of the Scholar Athlete banquet.

The voting process includes spring sports of 2011 (baseball, men's and women's golf, rowing, softball, men's and women's outdoor track & field and men's and women's tennis) and the fall and winter sports of the 2011-12 athletic year.

Named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Banham was also a Second Team All-Big Ten selection. She led the team in scoring, assists, defensive rebounds, minutes played, three-pointers and three-pointer percentage. Banham ranked third nationally in rookie scoring and was named to the 2011-12 Full Court NCAA Women's Freshman All-America team.

The women's basketball program was also awarded the Gladys Brooks Commitment to Academic Excellence Award at the banquet.

Go Gophers! =Jackie and Shayne
Go Gophers!
Star Tribune's All-Metro Teams

Future University of Minnesota women's basketball players Jackie Johnson and Shayne Mullaney were named to Star Tribune's 2012 All-Metro First Team Tuesday morning. The pair, who each signed National Letters of Intent to play for Pam Borton's Gophers next season, are seniors at Eden Prairie High School.

"I am very happy for Jackie and Shayne," Borton said. "This honor is well deserved and we are looking forward to both of them being a big part of our program. Their impact as players has been noticed on a national level and we welcome their talents, leadership and work ethic to this program."

Johnson, a 6-2 power forward, scored in double-figures in every contest this season for the Eagles to average an impressive 17.7 points per game. The senior was also a dominant presence on defense, as she averaged nearly 10 rebounds per game and recorded close to 100 total blocks. Johnson closed out her prep career as Eden Prairie's career-leader in rebounds and blocked shots.

Mullaney, a 5-10 guard, led her team in scoring at 17.8 points per game this season, while she also paced the squad with over 130 assists. Mullaney now holds the Eden Prairie High School record for career points and career assists.

Johnson and Mullaney, the top-two scorers in school history, led the Eagles to a 22-6 record and finished their final campaign as the Section 4A runner-up.

Best Rookie in BCS

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Go Gophers! Rachel Banham
Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Banham vs. BCS Freshmen Get Acrobat Reader

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).

Banham Reaches Goal at Home

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Only the second Gopher to be named the Big Ten Conference Women's Basketball Freshman of the Year, Minnesota's Rachel Banham is happy that she was able to achieve her goal while playing in her home state and in front of her family and friends.

In recent years, it seems more of a rarity than the norm for elite-level prep stars to loyally represent the state in which they grew up, whether to experience new surroundings or just to get a little bit more freedom, but for Banham, the choice seemed to be an easy one.

"I think it was an easy decision because I knew that I always wanted to play at Minnesota. Even though I had a lot of options, it didn't really matter to me because I knew from a younger age that this was where I wanted to be. That's why I verbally committed decently early. It is also nice because I am only about 20 minutes from home, and I really like that."

A native of Lakeville, Minn., Banham committed to the Gophers early in her junior year at Lakeville North High School, where she led the Panthers to the Class AAAA State Championship in 2010 and ended her career with numerous prestigious accolades, including the coveted 2011 Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year Award and was also named 2011 Minnesota Miss Basketball.

When she started her rookie season at Minnesota, Banham had a personal goal clearly in her mind, and wasn't afraid to let that goal be known, and that was to be the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year. And the hometown hero, with the support of her family, friends and the amazing fanbase that has followed her career for years, did just that.