Banham puts on historic show in Evanston

Rachel Banham tied the NCAA record for points in a game with 60 on Sunday.

Redshirt senior guard Rachel Banham handles the ball at Williams Arena on Thursday, where Minnesota beat Rutgers 85-72.

Image by Maddy Fox

Redshirt senior guard Rachel Banham handles the ball at Williams Arena on Thursday, where Minnesota beat Rutgers 85-72.

by Kaitlin Merkel

Rachel Banham had a record-setting day on Sunday, and the Gophers needed almost every point.
The redshirt senior guard tied the NCAA record for points in a game, scoring 60 as the Gophers defeated Northwestern 112-106 on the road in double overtime.
“I had no idea what the record was, where I was at. I was just really in the zone, and I was really focused on just beating them,” Banham said. “I was just in the groove. I just was feeling it and just trying to take over the game.”
It capped off a two-victory weekend for Minnesota, who defeated Rutgers 85-72 on Thursday night at Williams Arena.
Banham took 32 of the Gophers’ 76 shots during the game and made 19. She was also 8-15 from three-point range.
Minnesota trailed the Wildcats by seven entering the fourth quarter but managed to force overtime.
The teams were still tied after a single overtime, but the Gophers outscored Northwestern 20-14 in double overtime to get the victory.
“Our defense at the end was outstanding. We were getting rebounds. We were getting our hands on balls and just moving around and communicating on the floor,” sophomore guard Carlie Wagner said. “It finally felt good for us to get some good, solid defense going.”
Wagner and senior guard Shayne Mullaney added 21 and 10 points, respectively, for the Gophers.
This was Mullaney’s seventh consecutive game in which she scored in the double digits and the 10th time in 12 conference games this season.
“Anytime you can steal one on the road in February, it usually results in good things come March,” head coach Marlene Stollings said. “Our eyes and goals are set on going to the NCAA tournament and taking Rachel there for her first time.”
Banham, whose name began to trend on Twitter amid Super Bowl coverage, couldn’t find words after the game.
“I will definitely not forget this day,” Banham said.
Banham also led the Gophers with 24 points on Thursday as the Gophers defeated Rutgers for the first time in program history.
Banham had 19 points in the first half alone in Minnesota’s 85-72 victory, which was the team’s fourth.
“Just being aggressive, that was kind of our game plan from the start,” Banham said Thursday. “We had great ball movement … just a lot of
variety [on offense]. We’re really hard to guard because we all can shoot and we all can drive.”
The Gophers shot 17-35 in the first half and entered the break with a three-point lead. The team pulled farther away in the second half, outscoring Rutgers 18-11 and 24-21 in the final two quarters.
“We were very solid focusing in on the game plan for the entire game,” Stollings said. “We’ve had lapses in some of our games recently, and I thought tonight we stayed solid for the entire duration of the game. And that’s going to be crucial down the stretch.”
Wagner added 22 points for Minnesota, while Mullaney had 17 off the bench.
“We definitely have highs and lows game to game and quarter to quarter, so consistency is something that we really need to work on, and I think we brought it all together tonight,” Mullaney said Thursday.