Feb. 12, 2014
University of Minnesota junior guard Rachel Banham was selected as one of the top-30 candidates for the Women's Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday. The Naismith Women's Award is given to the nation's top female collegiate basketball player and is selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors
Banham is one of three Big Ten players on the list, joining Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Penn State's Maggie Lucas.
With the announcement of the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30, Banham remains on all three watch lists for National Player of the Year. In addition to the Naismith, the guard is on the Wade Watch and Wooden Top 20 lists. Banham was also recently named to the Dawn Staley Award Watch List, which honors the top guard in the nation.
The Naismith Women's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 7, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. In March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to four finalists.
Banham currently leads the Big Ten in scoring average, three-point field goals and three-point field goal percentage, while ranking in the top-35 nationally in five categories. She ranks fourth in three-point field goal percentage, 14th in final points, 15th in points per game 18th in three-point field goals and 34th in free throw percentage.
The junior has scored 20 or more points 15 times this season and 30 or more points three times. In addition, Banham has scored in double figures 21 times and led the team in scoring in 20 games. She ranks sixth all-time at Minnesota in scoring with 1,755 career points.
Minnesota has had two players named as Naismith Trophy finalists, including Janel McCarville in 2005 and Lindsay Whalen in both 2003 and 2004.
History of the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T
Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, founder of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is awarded annually to the women's and men's college basketball players of the year. First awarded in 1969 to UCLA's Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Naismith Trophy was sculpted by Marty C. Dawe of Atlanta and has become the most prestigious national honors awarded each year to the top women's and men's college basketball players in the nation.
Each year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's board of selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, vote on player performance to ultimately select the winners.
Unique among national awards of this caliber, the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, allows fans to contribute an unprecedented 25 percent of the final vote for the women's and men's players of the year and the women's and men's coaches of the year using the text messaging functions on their cellular telephones.
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