May 2, 2013
University of Minnesota head women's basketball coach Pam Borton announced Thursday that Rachel Banham, Sari Noga and Micaëlla Riché have been named team captains for the 2013-14 season. Banham and Riché will serve in the role for the second-consecutive season, while Noga will be a captain for the first time in her senior campaign.
"I am very excited that Rachel, Micaëlla and Sari will be leading our team in 2013-14. They all lead in different ways and they complement each other very well," Borton said of the trio. "Their work ethic and commitment this spring has been off the charts, and I know that we have three players that are invested, bought in and have taken ownership of this program."
With Banham and Riché as team captains in 2012-13, the Gophers finished the season with their best overall and Big Ten Conference records since 2008-09 and were selected to the 64-team Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
Individually, Banham, Riche and Noga each made solid improvements to their games throughout the course of the season.
Banham was a WBCA All-America Honorable Mention selection, and also earned spots on the WBCA All-Region 6 Team and the All-Big Ten First Team. The guard concluded the season as the second-leading sophomore scorer in NCAA Division I and ranked 14th overall nationally with her 20.7 points-per-game average. Banham also became the 21st Gopher in program history to notch 1,000 points and surpassed former Gopher great Lindsay Whalen for the most points scored through a sophomore season. She will enter her junior year with 1,243 career points, a mark that ranks 14th all-time on Minnesota's record chart.
Riché became one of the most improved players in not only the Big Ten Conference, but in the country in 2012-13. She was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection after more than doubling her point total from 2011-12, from 184 to 422, and improving her scoring average by 7.4 points per game from her sophomore year. Riché also upped her rebounding average from 4.2 per game in 2011-12, to ranking eighth in the Big Ten with a 7.7 rebounds-per-game average as a junior.
Noga was named Minnesota's Defensive Player of the Year after holding some of the nation's best scorers below their season averages as a junior. The guard also started each of the Gophers' 32 games and ranked second on the team in three-point field goals and three-point field goal percentage.
Game Preview: Gophers vs. Nebraska
Minnesota has won six of its last seven games, and will look to continue the trend Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Banham Gets Tweet from Kobe, USBWA Award
The senior guard earned the USBWA's Player of the Week honor, as well as recognition from her favorite basketball player.
Banham Record Reaction
Her 60-point performance has drawn attention from all over the country. Banham and the Gophers take on Nebraska at home this Thursday.