Gophers' Rachel Banham named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year


Minnesota Gopher women's basketball standout Rachel Banham has added another award to her growing list of them.

Banham was named the Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year by the conference Tuesday. A panel of voters chose Banham over other candidates representing a variety of women's athletics teams from the conference's 14 schools.

The University of Minnesota says Banham becomes the first Gopher basketball player to win the award. Overall she is just Minnesota's third recipient – swimming and diving's Gretchen Hegener (1997) and hockey's Amanda Kessel (2013) are the other two.

The Lakeville native became the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer last season as she finished her career with 3,093 total points. She was named the Big Ten's Player of the Year and was a First-Team All-American by the Associated Press, espnW and USBWA. She was also named a top-five finalist for the John R. Wooden Award.

She averaged a school-record 28.6 points per game last season. She upped her scoring during Big Ten play averaging a conference-record 30.5 points per game against conference opponents, and she had a knack for hitting clutch shots like this.

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She drew national praise and attention for her 60-point performance at Northwestern and even had a chance to meet her favorite NBA star Kobe Bryant.

Banham was selected by the Connecticut Sun with the No. 4 overall selection in this year's WNBA Draft.

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