March 16, 2014
Junior Rachel Banham was named the recipient of Minnesota's Most Valuable Player award, highlighting the Gopher women's basketball program's annual team banquet, which took place in the DQ Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium Sunday night.
A unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection, Banham is on pace to become the Gophers’ all-time leading scorer with 1,926 points in just her junior season. Banham broke Minnesota’s single-season record with 81 three-point field goals and is nearing the team’s single-season scoring record with 683 points. Her point total ranks 11th in the NCAA and third among the nation’s juniors.
Banham became the first Gopher since 1993 to lead the Big Ten in scoring, and her 23.3 points-per- game average was the highest in the Big Ten since 2002. Additionally, Banham led the Big Ten with 20 games scoring 20 or more points and five games scoring 30 or more points.
Sari Noga was honored with the Golden Gopher Award. The award is bestowed upon a player who displays what a Minnesota student-athlete is all about - the values, respect, loyalty and integrity of being a Golden Gopher athletically, academically and in the community - throughout a collegiate career.
Noga, Banham and Micaëlla Riché were each honored with the 2014 Coaches Award. The award is selected by the coaching staff in recognition of a player's impact on her team, her leadership qualities and work ethic.
Noga and redshirt freshman Amanda Zahui B. were the recipients of the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Noga claimed the honor for the second-straight year, while Zahui earned it for the first time in her career. Noga was given the task of defending the best offensive player on each of the Gophers'
opposing teams this season, which included Big Ten Players of the Year Maggie Lucas and Jordan
Hooper. Zahui holds Minnesota’s single-season blocks record after posting 91 blocks in just her rookie
year, while she also leads the Big Ten with an 11.5 rebounds-per-game average and defensive rebounds per game with 7.8.
Sophomore Jackie Johnson was the recipient of Minnesota's Most Improved Player award and sophomore Shayne Mullaney was honored with the Most Outstanding Scholar Award
The Terry McFarland Sixth Player of the Year Award is given to a person or people who make a special
contribution to the Golden Gopher program, whether in time, effort, donation or spirit. The 2013-14
recipient of this special award was Deborah Olson.
The Fast Break Club announced its award winners at the banquet. The awards are voted upon by the
FBC's Board of Directors. The Fast Break Club Award was given to Noga, while the FBC's Love of the Game award was given to Zahui.
Head coach Pam Borton also took time during the night to recognize the hard work and dedication of
the members of the scout team, who regularly practice with the team and prepare the Gophers for
The evening's festivities concluded with the 2013-14 highlight video, which was produced by Jess
2013-14 Minnesota Women's Basketball Award Winners
Most Valuable Player - Rachel Banham
Most Improved Player – Jackie Johnson
Coaches Award - Micaëlla Riché, Rachel Banham, Sari Noga
Golden Gopher Award – Sari Noga
Defensive Player of the Year - Sari Noga and Amanda Zahui B.
Most Outstanding Scholar – Shayne Mullaney
Terry McFarland Sixth Player of the Year – Deborah Olson
Fast Break Club Award Winners
Fast Break Club Award - Sari Noga
Love of the Game Award - Amanda Zahui B.
WNBA at the Break
Three pro Gophers will get some rest, and Lindsay Whalen will go for another gold medal in Rio.
Introducing: Taiye Bello
The freshman from Michigan has enjoyed her summer in another of the Great Lakes states.
Introducing: Gadiva Hubbard
The Viginia native is feeling at home in the Twin Cities during her first summer on campus.