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Golden Nugz 02.28.12

Congratulations to Rachel Banham who was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year.

The rookie was also voted onto the All-Big Ten Second Team by both the league's head coaches and media and was a unanimous selection for the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, while senior guard Kiara Buford garnered All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors by both entities.

"It is an honor for Rachel to receive Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades and to make Second Team All-Big Ten," head coach Pam Borton said. "This is one of the strongest and most talented freshmen classes that I can remember in this league, and it is an honor for all the respected coaches in the Big Ten to think as highly of Rachel as we do."

Banham follows in the footsteps of former Gopher standout Janel McCarville, who is the only other Minnesota player to be named the league's rookie of the year and the only other Gopher to also be named a member of the All-Big Ten Second Team in her freshman campaign.

"Rachel has proven over and over with her play and consistency that she can flourish at this level and on the national scene," Borton continued. "For her to come in and do the things she has done for our program, and to make a statement in the Big Ten like she has again and again has been remarkable. All of the additional things Rachel has had to handle at such a young age takes a lot of maturity, great teammates, mental toughness, confidence and support from people around her. A lot has to go into her performance that most people cannot grasp."

This is a very nice award for the young guard. Congrats and hopefully it is the first of many awards, both individual and team, that Miss Banham receives in the next three years.

  • Take 60 seconds to get to know Banham.
  • Gopher Baseball split a four-game series with UW-Milwaukee over the weekend. T.J. Oakes pitched a 2-hit gem in the opening game and earned himself Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. This will not be the only time he wins this award this season, mark it down.
  • I know you all miss watching baseball in the Metrodome. So head this weekend to the DQ Classic. Minnesota will be hosting West Virginia, New Mexico State and Nebraska (they avoid the Huskers on the Big Ten official schedule so this works out nice). You can get a voucher for a free ticket by popping into your local Dairy Queen.
  • FBT gets pulled into the argument as to which team was worse, the 2010 Gopher football team or Kill's 2011 version?
  • This an interesting read from Phil Miller about how the Gopher staff recently spent some time at Baylor to learn how to better utilize a quarterback like MarQueis Gray. Top 5 pick in next year's NFL Draft? Yeah, probably.