University of Minnesota women’s basketball alum and assistant coach / director of quality control Rachel Banham will leave the Gopher coaching staff and continue her basketball journey when she reports to training camp with the Connecticut Sun at the end of April.

Banham joined the Minnesota staff in September 2022 and was able to work for the Gophers while she played for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. Banham signed a two-year contract with Connecticut this past February and will return to the team that selected her No. 4 overall in the 2016 WNBA Draft.  The distance between Connecticut and Minnesota made it impossible for Banham to continue the coaching role with the Gophers.

“We are so thankful to Rachel for being an integral part of our coaching staff this past season,” said Minnesota head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. “Rachel is an important alum of our program, and she assisted us in so many ways, including in growing our alumni involvement. We also have players with aspirations to continue playing after college and Rachel was a great resource for those players. We now wish Rachel all the success in the world as she heads to Connecticut for the upcoming WNBA season. I hope that when Rachel is back in Minneapolis playing against the Lynx that our Gopher fans turn out in great numbers to support her!”

The 2024 season will be Banham’s ninth in the WNBA, as she played for Connecticut from 2016-19 and for Minnesota from 2020-23. She has seen action in 222 career games and averages 5.2 points per game while logging 13.4 minutes per game. For her career, she has shot 37.1% from three-point range and her teams have made the playoffs in six of the eight years she has been in the league.

Banham was a student-athlete at Minnesota from 2011-16. She scored 3,093 points and when her career ended, that total ranked first all-time in the Big Ten and sixth all-time in the NCAA. It now ranks third all-time in the Big Ten and tenth all-time in the NCAA.

She was the 2016 Big Ten Player of the Year and made 354 threes during her career, which is a program record. She is arguably most known for her then-NCAA record 60-point performance at Northwestern in 2016, a year that ended with her earning a First Team All-American honors. She was also named the 2016 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year.

(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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