NCAA Allows Banham to Return to the Gophers Next Year
MINNEAPOLIS (Gophersports.com) – University of Minnesota senior guard Rachel Banham today announced that she will return to the Golden Gopher women’s basketball program next season after being awarded a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA. Banham, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee at North Dakota on Dec. 10, will have one season of eligibility remaining.
"I am really excited to announce that I will be coming back to play next year for the University of Minnesota,” said Banham, who will graduate in the spring with a degree in sociology. “My family and my teammates have been a huge influence on this decision. I have a lot of unfinished business here at the Barn and I am excited to play in front of these great fans."
Through the first nine games of the season, Banham was averaging 20.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game and was on pace to break numerous Minnesota career records, including Lindsay Whalen’s scoring record of 2,285 career points. With 2,179 points, Banham is just 107 points away from the record and is one of just four players in program history to have scored 2,000 career points.
"Rachel's decision to return next season reflects her commitment to this program and University," said head coach Marlene Stollings. “Beyond the impact she will have on the court, her decision shows her belief in our coaching staff, our philosophy, her teammates and the Gophers fans. Her return will have a significant impact on our success moving forward, and we could not be more excited."
Banham was named the Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year and was on watch lists for each of the three National Player of the Year awards prior to her injury. The guard also earned a spot on espnW’s Preseason All-America Second Team and was ranked as the No. 5 player in the nation heading into the season by the website.