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Banham new all-time scoring leader in Gopher women's hoops

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Rachel Banham wears number one and now she is number one.

The U of M women's basketball star took over the top spot on the Gophers career scoring list Saturday, passing Lindsay Whalen.

Banham broke the record in Puerto Rico, where the Gophers were taking part in a holiday tournament called the San Juan Shootout. She finished with 29 points in a game that saw Minnesota come from behind to force overtime, before ultimately losing to Auburn, 81-79.

Banham made it clear before the season started that becoming the leading scorer in program history was one of her priorities – saying last summer that she wanted to not only break Whalen's record but "destroy" it.

Well, the breaking has happened and there are still three months left for destruction to occur.

Banham's determination was rooted partly in a desire to show that she has recovered from the major knee injury that wiped out most of last season for her. The torn ligament abruptly ended a senior year in which the Lakeville native was favored to be the Big Ten player of the year.

In January Banham was granted a medical waiver by the NCAA, allowing her to return to the Gophers for a fifth season.

Since Whalen's record-setting days at the U of M ended, she's won a few WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx. She told the Pioneer Press last month she's developed a friendship with Banham, adding "You want to see those records broken. That means the game is getting better."

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