Banham on Wooden Award Preseason Top 30
Oct. 25, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — University of Minnesota junior guard Rachel Banham has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30, as announced this week by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
The list is comprised of 30 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor. The list is chosen by a preseason poll of national college women’s basketball media members
A First Team All-Big Ten selection and WBCA Honorable Mention All-American as a sophomore, Banham is one of just three Big Ten players and 10 non-seniors on the list. She enters her third season at Minnesota with 1,243 career points, which ranks 14th on the Gophers’ all-time scoring list and is 151 points ahead of the total all-time leading scorer Lindsay Whalen scored in her first two seasons.
Banham averaged 20.7 points last season, which is the third-highest 2012-13 scoring average among the players on the Wooden Award Preseason Top 30. Banham’s career point total also leads the five other juniors on the list, as she holds a four-point edge on Connecticut junior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (1,239 points).
A native of Lakeville, Minn. (Lakeville North HS), Banham recorded five 30-plus point games last season, which included torching Creighton for a career-high 39 points. She tallied three 30-point games during a four-game stretch of Big Ten contests from Jan. 28 to Feb. 7.
The other Big Ten players to make the list are Penn State senior guard Maggie Lucas and Nebraska senior forward Jordan Hooper. Maryland, which will join the Big Ten beginning in 2014-15, had senior forward Alyssa Thomas make the list.
Two Wooden All Americans return to the team from a year ago in Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike and Baylor point guard Odyssey Sims. Ogwumike was the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2012-13, averaging 22.4 points and 12.9 rebounds. Sims enters her senior season ranking No. 2 all time at Baylor in both assists (469) and three point shooting (.405).
Players not chosen to the preseason team are eligible for both the midseason team and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award All America Team, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.
Connecticut boasts four players on the preseason Top 30 list: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, and Breanna Stewart, all of whom played key roles in the school’s title run in 2013. Other names of note include Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel, who made her mark on the national scene with an impressive performance in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and Florida International’s Jerica Coley, the country’s top scorer a year ago at 26.3 points per game.
The ACC led all conferences with nine selections, followed by the Pac-12 and newly formed American Athletic Conference with five; the SEC with four; the Big 12 and Big Ten with three; and Conference USA with one.
In addition to Connecticut, five other schools had multiple players chosen: Duke (Elizabeth Williams, Chelsea Gray, Tricia Liston); California (Brittany Boyd, Gennifer Brandon); Notre Dame (Kayla McBride, Natalie Achonwa); Tennessee (Bashaara Graves, Meighan Simmons); and North Carolina (Diamond DeShields, Xylina McDaniel).
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Maya Moore (’09 and ’11) and Brittney Griner (’12 and ’13).
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award ceremony.
Follow the candidates and get the latest news throughout the season by logging on to www.WoodenAward.com. For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact the Wooden Award staff at 213-630-5231 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2013-14 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 List, Women
(Based on a preseason poll. Players listed alphabetically.)