Minnesota Gophers in the WNBA: Banham and Zahui B.

Published 9:42 pm Monday, July 1, 2019

Roughly one-third of the way through the WNBA season, it’s time to take a look at how former Gophers have been performing this season.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2019 WNBA season has been the play of the Connecticut Sun. Entering action Tuesday, the Sun had a 1.5 game lead for the best record in the league at 9-2.

Former Gopher Rachel Banham is now in her fourth season with the Sun and has played in all 11 games this year, averaging 11.7 minutes per contest and putting up 4.9 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. She’s picked up her scoring as of late, though, scoring 28 points in her last four games (7.0 average) compared to 26 points in her first seven games of the year (3.7 average).

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Banham has reached double digits twice this year, going for 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and a season-high three rebounds and two assists in a return trip to her home state against Minnesota on June 14. She also posted 10 points on June 23 at Chicago, once again going 4-of-8 from the floor.

She’s also established a popular pregame routine.

Amanda Zahui B. is in her fifth season with the New York Liberty, who currently sit at 3-7 in the WNBA standings, but are only one game out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

Zahui B. started the first nine games of the season for the Liberty, but left on June 20 to play for her home country of Sweden in the European Basketball Championship. The tournament runs from June 27 to July 7 in Serbia and Latvia.

Prior to her departure, Zahui B. was averaging 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while leading the Liberty, and ranking second in the league, with 2.3 blocks per contest. She’s reached double figures four times this year and posted a pair of double-doubles with 15 points and 13 rebounds against Minnesota on June 12 and 13 points and 10 boards versus Chicago on June 19.

Undoubtedly though, the highlight of Zahui B.’s season so far came on June 15 when she went for a career-high 37 points on 13-of-16 shooting, including 7-of-8 3-pointers, in a win at Los Angeles. She added seven rebounds and three blocks to fill out the stat sheet. Not only did it mark the most points scored by anyone in the WNBA this season – only two other players have even hit 30 points in one game — but it was also the most field goals made and is tied for the most 3-pointers made.

Lastly, in case you missed it, Lindsay Whalen was honored by Minnesota on June 8 as the Lynx retired her jersey.