University of Minnesota senior guard Rachel Banham today was named to the John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30, a list made up of 30 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s player of the year award. It marks the second-straight year that Banham has been named to the prestigious list, which is chosen by a preseason poll of national women’s college basketball media members.

The senior was ranked by espnW as the No. 5 player in the country and earned a spot on its Preseason All-America second team, while also being tabbed as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year heading into the 2014-15 season.

Banham has paced the Gophers to a 3-0 record early in her senior campaign and is averaging 19.7 points and 7.3 assists per game. She became just the fourth Gopher in program history to score 2,000 career points in Minnesota’s season-opener and, with 2,052 total points, ranks third on Minnesota’s all-time scoring register and is on pace to break Lindsay Whalen’s career scoring record of 2,285 points.

As a junior, Banham joined Janel McCarville as the only two Gophers in program history to earn a spot on the Wooden Award Final Ballot, which is made up of the top-15 women’s basketball players in the nation. She was also named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top-30, the Wade Award Watch List and the Dawn Staley Award Watch List. She earned a spot on the AP and WBCA All-America honorable mention teams and was a unanimous selection to both the coaches and media All-Big Ten First Teams.

Banham was the first Gopher since Carol Ann Shudlick in 1993 to lead the Big Ten in scoring and posted the highest Big Ten scoring average since 2002. Her 750 points were a program single-season record, as were her 93 three-point field goals in 2013-14.

Banham and the Gophers are set to host Southern University Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.


John R. Wooden Award Women's Preseason Top 30

 Name School Conference Ht. Yr. Pos.
Jillian Alleyne Oregon Pac-12 6-3 Jr. F
Rachel Banham Minnesota Big Ten 5-9 Sr. G
Brittany Boyd California Pac-12 5-9 Sr. G
Crystal Bradford Central Michigan MAC 6-0 Sr. G
Lexie Brown Maryland Big Ten 5-9 So. G
Nina Davis Baylor Big 12 5-11 So. F
Kaela Davis Georgia Tech ACC 6-2 So. G
Nneka Enemkpali Texas Big 12 6-1 Sr. F
Bashaara Graves Tennessee SEC 6-2 Jr. F
Reshanda Gray California Pac-12 6-3 Sr. F
Allisha Gray North Carolina ACC 6-0 So. G
Dearica Hamby Wake Forest ACC 6-3 Sr. F
Sara Hammond Louisville ACC 6-2 Sr. F
Isabelle Harrison Tennessee SEC 6-3 Sr. C
Bria Holmes West Virginia Big 12 6-1 Jr. G
Brittany Hrynko DePaul Big East 5-8 Sr. G
Moriah Jefferson UConn The American 5-7 Jr. G
Samantha Logic Iowa Big Ten 5-9 Sr. G
Jewell Loyd Notre Dame ACC 5-10 Jr. G
Tiffany Mitchell South Carolina SEC 5-9 Jr. G
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis UConn The American 5-11 Sr. F
Amber Orrange Stanford Pac-12 5-7 Sr. G
Kelsey Plum Washington Pac-12 5-8 So. G
Aerial Powers Michigan State Big Ten 6-0 So. F
Breanna Stewart* UConn The American 6-4 Jr. F
Rachel Theriot Nebraska Big Ten 6-0 Jr. G
Courtney Walker Texas A&M SEC 5-8 Jr. G
Aleighsa Welch South Carolina SEC 6-0 Sr. F
Elizabeth Williams Duke ACC 6-3 Sr. C/F
Courtney Williams USF The American 5-8 Jr. G