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Minnesota’s Rachel Banham named B1G Women’s Basketball Player of the Year

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In what may be the least shocking Big Ten Women’s Basketball Player of the Year announcement, Minnesota Gopher senior guard Rachel Banham was named the 2015-16 Player of the Year by both the coaches and media.

Between a Big Ten single-game record 60 points and a Big Ten leading career scoring record of 2,982 points, Banham was an easy selection as Player of the Year. She was named ESPNw national Player of the Week following that 60-point performance on Feb. 7 against Northwestern.

Banham finished the regular season averaging 27.7 points per game, a mark that is second nationally. She helped her own case by also setting a Gophers record with 107 made three-pointers, a mark that leads the Big Ten this season as well.

It was the second year in a row for a Gopher to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors, as Amanda Zahui B. earned the distinction last season from the media. 

Banham wasn’t the only highlight in the Big Ten women’s basketball postseason honors though, as Michigan State’s Ariel Powers and Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell were unanimous first team selections by the Big Ten coaches and media.

Here are the full All-Big Ten Teams (media):

FIRST TEAM

HONORABLE MENTION

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Tyra Buss, Indiana

Brene Moseley, Maryland

Rachel Banham, Minnesota

Brionna Jones, Maryland

Hallie Thome, Michigan

Shatori Walker‐Kimbrough, Maryland

Branndais Agee, Michigan State

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Katelynn Flaherty, Michigan

Jasmine Hines, Michigan State

Jessica Shepard, Nebraska

AERIAL POWERS, Michigan State

Natalie Romeo, Nebraska

RACHEL BANHAM, Minnesota

Rachel Theriot, Nebraska

COACH OF THE YEAR

Jessica Shepard, Nebraska

Ashley Deary, Northwestern

Teri Moren, Indiana

Nia Coffey, Northwestern

Maggie Lyon, Northwestern

Ameryst Alston, Ohio State

Brianna Banks, Penn State

KELSEY MITCHELL, Ohio State

Teniya Page, Penn State

Rachel Hollivay, Rutgers

SECOND TEAM

Nicole Bauman, Wisconsin

Chatrice White, Illinois

Amanda Cahill, Indiana

Ally Disterhoft, Iowa

Tori Jankoska, Michigan State

Carlie Wagner, Minnesota

Shayla Cooper, Ohio State

Alexa Hart, Ohio State

April Wilson, Purdue

Kahleah Copper, Rutgers

Tyler Scaife, Rutgers

Here are the All-Big Ten teams (coaches):

FIRST TEAM

HONORABLE MENTION

ALL‐FRESHMAN TEAM #

Tyra Buss, Indiana

Amanda Cahill, Indiana

Alex Wittinger, Illinois

Brionna Jones, Maryland

Hallie Thome, Michigan

Tania Davis, Iowa

SHATORI WALKER‐KIMBROUGH, Maryland

Maggie Lyon, Northwestern

Megan Gustafson, Iowa

Katelynn Flaherty, Michigan

Shayla Cooper, Ohio State

Hallie Thome, Michigan

AERIAL POWERS, Michigan State

Alexa Hart, Ohio State

JESSICA SHEPARD, Nebraska

RACHEL BANHAM, Minnesota

Brianna Banks, Penn State

TENIYA PAGE, Penn State

Jessica Shepard, Nebraska

Lindsey Spann, Penn State

Nia Coffey, Northwestern

Ashley Morrissette, Purdue

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ameryst Alston, Ohio State

Rachel Hollivay, Rutgers

Rachel Banham, Minnesota

KELSEY MITCHELL, Ohio State

Nicole Bauman, Wisconsin

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

SECOND TEAM

ALL‐DEFENSIVE TEAM

Ashley Deary, Northwestern

Chatrice White, Illinois

Shatori Walker‐Kimbrough, Maryland

Ally Disterhoft, Iowa

Ashley Deary, Northwestern

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Brene Moseley, Maryland

Alexa Hart, Ohio State

Jessica Shepard, Nebraska

Tori Jankoska, Michigan State

April Wilson, Purdue

Carlie Wagner, Minnesota

Rachel Hollivay, Rutgers

SIXTH PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Natalie Romeo, Nebraska

Brene Moseley, Maryland

Teniya Page, Penn State

April Wilson, Purdue

COACH OF THE YEAR

Kahleah Copper, Rutgers

Teri Moren, Indiana

Tyler Scaife, Rutgers

While Banham earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors, it was Indiana head coach Teri Moren was tabbed Big Ten Coach of the Year after guiding the Hoosiers to the No. 4 seed at the Big Ten Tournament with a 12-6 conference record and a 20-10 overall mark. Moren’s Hoosiers were the only team in the B1G to finish the season undefeated at home, going a perfect 14-0 at Assembly Hall. 

Nebraska’s Jessica Shepard was honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and media after a season that saw her set a few freshman records. She made national headlines after pouring in 35 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in a win over Michigan on Jan. 24. It was the first 30-point, 20-rebound game in Huskers women’s basketball history too. Shepard finished the season the same way she entered it, as she was also the preseason Big Ten Freshman of the Year. 

She finished the regular season leading the team in scoring, averaging 19.5 points per game, while also grabbing 8.8 rebounds and dishing out 1.8 assists per game on the season.

The Big Ten women’s basketball tournament begins March 2nd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. Here’s a full look at the bracket for you heading in to tournament play:

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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