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A member of the University of Minnesota women's basketball staff since fall 2022, Rachel Banham will move on from the program when she travels to Connecticut for the upcoming WNBA season. Banham spent this past season as the Gophers' assistant coach/director of quality control.

"We are so thankful to Rachel for being an integral part of our coaching staff this past season,'' Gophers coach Dawn Plitzuweit said in a statement. "Rachel is an important alum of our program, and she assisted us in so many ways, including in growing our alumni involvement.''

The leading scorer in program history, Banham will be playing in her ninth WNBA season when she returns to the Sun, the team that selected her with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 WNBA draft. Banham played for Connecticut from 2016-19 and with the Lynx from 2020-23. She has appeared in 222 games, averaging 5.2 points in 13.4 minutes.


Gophers' Ayianna Johnson enters name in portal

Gophers women's backup center Ayianna Johnson has entered her name in the NCAA transfer portal. Johnson's freshman season ended with her out of action for the Gophers' five-game WNIT tournament run because of a concussion. She appeared in 32 games, starting the final six regular-season games in place of the injured Sophie Hart. Johnson averaged 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds. Johnson, who played at Jefferson (Wis.) High School, originally committed to play for Plitzuweit at West Virginia but changed to the Gophers after Plitzuweit was hired by Minnesota.

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Johnson is the second Gophers player to enter the portal, joining Ajok Madol. The Gophers picked up a player from the portal late last week when former Wayzata star post Annika Stewart announced she was transferring from Nebraska to play for the Gophers as a graduate student.



— The Gophers wrestling program added transfer Tommy Askey to its roster, coach Brandon Eggum announced.

A native of Pine Bush, N.Y., Askey spent the past four seasons at Appalachian State, where he was a two-time SoCon champion and automatic qualifier to the NCAA championships at 157 pounds. He finished with a record of 74-35 for the Mountaineers, including an unbeaten 15-0 mark in league duals the past two seasons. He was a two-time all-conference honoree.

— Former MSHSL Associate Director John Bartz died April 9. Bartz, of Vadnais Heights, was 89.

Bartz worked for the MSHSL from 1985-2001. Before that, he was the athletic director at Tartan High School for 16 years. He began his teaching and coaching career at North St. Paul High School.

He is a member of the MSHSL Hall of Fame and the Hamline University Athletic Hall of Fame.