Oct. 25, 2012
The Big Ten Conference announced on Thursday that Minnesota sophomore Rachel Banham was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten Women's Basketball Team as voted by the league's head coaches. The last Gopher named to a Preseason All-Big Ten Team was Emily Fox in 2008.
Banham, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a member of the All-Big Ten Second Team last season, was the only underclassman named to either of the seven-person preseason honor squads. Joining Banham on the preseason coaches team were Iowa's Morgan Johnson, Nebraska's Jordan Hooper, Ohio State's Tayler Hill, Penn State's Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas and Purdue's Courtney Moses.
Hill and Bentley were named the coaches' Preseason Co-Players of the Year, while Penn State was predicted to finish first in the league by both the coaches and the media. Nebraska was picked to finish second by both entities, while the coaches selected Purdue to finish third and the media selected Ohio State to finish third.
Hill was also the Preseason Player of the Year as voted on by the media and was joined on the Preseason All-Big Ten Media Team by Hooper, Lindsay Moore, Bentley and Lucas.
Banham enters her sophomore campaign with 580 career points. The guard was not only one of the best freshmen in the country last season, but she was also one of the finest players in the country as she ranked 97th overall nationally in points per game (16.1) and 74th in free throw percentage (.817).
Her 580 points were the third-highest total among the nation's freshmen last year, and were the most points scored of any freshman in the six power conferences. Banham also set Minnesota program freshman records in points, field goals, field goal attempts and three-point percentage.
Banham and the Gophers will see their first action of the 2012-13 season on Wednesday, Oct. 31 in an exhibition contest vs. Concordia St. Paul at Williams Arena. The game is scheduled to get underway at 7:00 p.m.