Sept. 19, 2012
University of Minnesota head women's basketball coach Pam Borton announced Wednesday that sophomore Rachel Banham and junior Micaëlla Riché have been named team captains for the upcoming 2012-13 season. The pair succeeds the trio of Kiara Buford, Nicole Mastey and Jackie Voigt who led the team to the WBI Championship last season.
"During the offseason, our team was led collectively, and every player contributed to the establishment of a winning culture," Borton said. "From that group of leaders, Rachel and Micaëlla were selected as team captains for the 2012-13 season. I am confident that they will provide the leadership necessary for success, as they are both passionate about winning and committed to moving our team forward."
After scoring a program freshman record 580 points a year ago, Banham was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was voted onto the All-Big Ten Second Team. The guard was also a member of the Full Court Freshman All-America First Team and the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, after helping lead the Golden Gophers to the 2012 WBI Championship in March.
"It is such a great honor to be named captain by my teammates and coaches, especially as an underclassman," Banham said. "I'm excited to take on more responsibility and be a person that my teammates can rely on. I am really looking forward to this season because we have been on the same page both on and off the court."
In her sophomore campaign, Riché earned her way into Minnesota's starting lineup for the final seven games of the 2011-12 season, including all six of the team's postseason contests, where the forward averaged 10.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. At the conclusion of the season, she led the Gophers with a .497 field goal percentage, ranked fourth on the team with 135 rebounds and was named to the Big Ten All-Academic Team.
"I am really honored that my teammates and the coaching staff allowed me the privilege to be a captain this year," Riché said. "I am excited to see what this year has in store for us. We have all grown so much individually and as a team, and there is amazing leadership coming from each player in their own way. There is a different vibe in the weight room, locker room and on the court, and I'm looking forward to working with Rachel, learning from my coaches and teammates and growing as a team, as individuals and as players."