Banham dazzles with 37, but Gophers lose to Illinois

  • Article by: AARON PAITICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 29, 2013 - 11:20 AM

She scored 37 points and surpassed 1,000 for her career in the loss.

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InformedOneJan. 28, 1311:52 PM

First of all, congratulations to Rachel for hitting a great milestone. At this rate she will easily score the most points in Gopher history. Now the game as a whole, on the other hand, was painful on so many levels. Fifty-two points in the first half?! Seriously?! I thought Illinois would score a hundred with room to spare at one point during the second half (on the home court, no less). Way too many mistakes during the last four minutes to win a game like this (even when the Illini seemed to be trying to give the game away on the line). I'm still baffled why the Gophers didn't make a concerted effort to drive or lob inside and instead kept settling for outside shots when they got into the bonus at about the 12 minute mark in the first half. Heck, FOUR OF FIVE ILLINI STARTERS HAD FOUR FOULS with four minutes to go in the game and practically an even score and the Gophers still couldn't get it done. Missed layups, stupid fouls, turnovers...just undisciplined play. I have to say, while I watched the game I though about the incredible center Karisma Penn in her senior year and what might have been if she hadn't been stuck with Jollet Law as a coach for her entire career with the Illini perpetually in the basement (despite excellent recruiting classes). Now Matt Bollant has come in and seems to be finally getting the program back to respectability, but to late for Penn. So sad. Hopefully the same will not be said of Banham in two years.

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tcarlsenJan. 29, 13 5:52 AM

Agree on everything from Banham to the late mistakes, etc. 18 turnover this game after 23 the game before. I think they are relying more on the outside (guards) because the inside game is not what it needs to be. They really needs a stronger, taller presence inside. Kellogg is fine and makes contributions, I think, but would ideally be taller, made costly mistakes, does not get as many rebounds as you would hope from that position, and probably does not allow as many passing opportunities inside to her. I hope Johnson hits the weights in the off season, has a tough mental determination, and gets her shot accuracy up because that height would be nice.

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annieoakJan. 29, 13 5:53 AM

I too, watched the game and wondered why the Gopher players did not keep driving to get the 5th foul from at least one of the Illini. It was obvious from the start that Illinois was going to run and gun-why not slow down the tempo and hit the paint harder? Oh, I forgot, this is a team whose coaches don't make adjustments. Good for Banham, but truly, scoring that many points without the win can get a bit old. I continue to see little to no development for players the longer they stay with Borton. Loberg is a shell of the player who originally had so much promise. Amidst all the fury of the Illinois players' shooting, it still felt like Coach Bollant had them on a plan. I can't say the same for the Gophers.

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jpweisserJan. 29, 13 7:18 AM

Norwood Teague needs to step up & fire both Borton & Tubby. These teams continue to struggle with what the U higher ups consider great coaches. Why? Pam & Tubby have failed. What's the fascination with these two? Could someone please explain? The teams are terrible at fundamentals, players don't improve under these coaches(Banham was a great player coming in), they continue to finish low in the Conference, they can't coach or make adjustments during games, they have players transferring all the time. What am I missing people? I'm honestly baffled by what the upper management sees in these two that's not happening on the court.

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InformedOneJan. 29, 13 7:20 AM

Even though the Gophers' size inside is not ideal, the Illini and Penn are more similar to Nikki Greene and Penn State than Mingo and Manuel (Purdue) or Mills and Hines (MSU). Riche did a great job on Greene last Thursday and I guess I was expecting the same being that she was not in a lot of foul trouble for most of the game. Leah's drives a la the Penn State game would have been perfect, too (not that 9 assists is not nice, but the coaches have got to emphasize the foul situation in strategy when making adjustments. Oh, yeah, I forgot about the adjustment thing, annieoak). Up until this point, I've tried to have faith, but this really is a critical year for Borton and her staff. The last two games were completely winnable, but poor execution, questionable strategy, and mistakes down the stretch cost the Gophers the game. While I still think that the Gophers would have trouble against the inside game of Purdue and MSU, they have every right to be sitting at 4-3 right now with one very impressive B1G road win but instead are sitting at 2-5 with a season slipping away. I said at the beginning of the season that if the Gophers do not get 20 wins and a return to the NCAA tournament this year, the AD has to clean house to give this team a chance to reach its potential. Brenda Frese had McCarville in her freshman year when she came in and helped turn the program around. Matt Bollant has the same players as last year and the Illini might make 9-7 this year (the Gophers' goal). A new coach next season might be worth the investment for the sake of not wasting Banham's talent. It would be a shame to waste the career of a player destined to become the greatest scorer in Gophers history when the current coaching staff seems incapable of teaching and inspiring them to achieve their goals. JMHO. Go Gophers!

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raymondb62Jan. 29, 13 7:36 AM

Have to agree with everything that's been said here. This was a frustrating game that was not nearly as close as the final score would indicate. The Gophers would go into long funks and get down by double digits and then come roaring back to close the score but there was no consistancy! When Banham first came to the U, I thought she had a legitimate chance to get drafted into the WNBA but if she plays her entire career under Borton, there's no chance of her getting the exposure she needs on the national stage to generate interest. What aa waste of talent...

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edutchboyJan. 29, 13 7:39 AM

Time for a coaching change.

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KarlyleJan. 29, 13 7:59 AM

Entertaining team to watch offensively. Very weak inside presence. Riche and Kellogg have poor hands and are physically weak. Banham is fantastic and has to carry the team. Decent guard support with Noga and Mullaney. Terribly coached on defense...Borton needs to hire someone who knows how to coach defense...so many wide open 10 footers and layups...guards chase way too far out in the zone..really fundamentally flawed on defense, and that's coaching Banham will make this team credible-needs a good coach

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dirtydogsJan. 29, 13 8:45 AM

What has Borton done since she came on board. The team is far worse than when Brenda Frese left and has yet to approach her success. It is definitely time for a change.

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TooteeJan. 29, 13 9:16 AM

I too, echo the comments here. Banham was amazing but where was the defense? and too many turnovers. Riche and Loberg had a few nice plays down low but not enough consistency. The Gophers need a dominant post player at Banham's level (ala' Whalen/McCarville) otherwise they'll never go anywhere (sorry to say). I'm excited to get to a game finally on Thursday night though - been missing more than I'd care to this season (due to family member's illness) but I'm supporting them from afar if need be!!

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