Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The Golden Gophers’ women’s basketball team on Nov. 13 at home against Wofford, and it looks like star guard Rachel Banham will be ready to go. As she works her way back from a torn right ACL, the 2014-15 Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year was cleared for full contact in practice last week.
Before being injured and getting a medical redshirt, Banham averaged 18.6 points per game in the 10 games she played last season. She is just 107 points shy of passing Lindsay Whalen (2,285 points) as the all-time leading scorer in the history of Minnesota women’s basketball.
Golden Gopher’s women’s coach Marlene Stollings previously suggested that Banham would be fully cleared in October, so that timeline is perfectly on track right now. Stollings more recently suggested that Banham will not be rushed back, with an eye on having her healthy later in the season when the games are more important.
I expect to see Banham’s minutes limited early in the season, with a bench role perhaps in-store for much of the non-conference schedule. It’s worth remembering that she’ll be just 11 months removed from her torn ACL when the season starts, so caution is the word in games that should go into the win column even with Banham playing a secondary role.
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