April 3, 2012
After leading the University of Minnesota women's basketball team to its most successful season in three years and a WBI Championship, rookie Rachel Banham earned national recognition for her efforts as she was named to the 2011-12 Full Court NCAA Division I Women's Freshman All-American First Team.
Banham joined Full Court National Freshman of the Year Elizabeth Williams from Duke, UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Tennessee's Ariel Massengale and Kentucky's Bria Goss on the first team to become only the second player in program history, and the first in 30 years, to be named to a Freshman All-American Team, as former Gopher Laura Coenen was named to the College All-Freshman Team in 1982.
The rookie was outstanding in her first season as a Golden Gopher, as she was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was also honored with spots on the All-Big Ten Second Team and the Big Ten All-Freshman Team by both the league head coaches and the media. She garnered Big Ten Player of the Week accolades once and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week five times (12/12, 12/26, 1/9, 1/17, 1/31). The freshman also earned a spot on the WBI All-Tournament Team and the Best Buy Classic All-Tournament Team this year.
Banham concluded her rookie campaign with team-highs in points (580), points per game (16.1), field goals (216), three-point field goals (54), three-point field goal percentage (.425), defensive rebounds (148) and minutes played (1,213). Her 580 points were the third-highest total among the nation's freshmen and were the most points scored of any freshman in the six power conferences this season, while she ranks 97th overall nationally in points per game and 74th in free throw percentage (.817).
She ranks seventh on Minnesota's single-season register in points, eighth in field goals, third in field goal attempts (515), fifth in three-point field goal percentage, tied for fifth in free throw percentage and tied for seventh in defensive rebounds and also set program freshman records in points, field goals, field goal attempts and three-point percentage.
Banham scored in double-figures in 33 games in 2011-12, including 29-straight from Nov. 20-March 18 and had nine games where she scored 20 or more points and eight games in which she shot .500 or better from the field. She paced the Gophers in scoring in 22 games, assists in 15 games, steals in 11 games and rebounding in nine games.
In conference action, Banham ranked fourth among her league counterparts with a scoring average of 18.1 points per game, while leading the Big Ten with a .492 three-point field goal percentage.