#34 Minnesota Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #7 Big Ten
#34 Minnesota Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview
Minnesota Team Page


Minnesota missed out on the NCAA Tournament last season, but did win a couple games in the WNIT. Coach Marlene Stollings steps into the head coaching job after a couple of successful years at VCU. Previously she spent one year leading Winthrop. Coach Stollings wants to get up and down the floor and it should be a great fit with a deep and talent Gophers squad that already knows how to score.

2013-14 Record: 22-13, 8-8
2013-14 Postseason: WNIT
Coach: Marlene Stollings
Coach Record: 0-0 at Minnesota, 51-42 overall

The new coaching staff will build around Rachel Banham and Amanda Zahui. Banham was one of the best scorers in the country last season and that will not change during her senior season. In fact, Banham could easily improve on her 22.1 points per game in the new scheme. Banham knocked down 42.1 percent of her 221 three-point attempts and is one of the best pure shooters in the nation. She is not too shabby of a defender either. Zahui is in the inside presence. The 6-5 center is coming off of an amazing freshman campaign in which she averaged 15.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks. Those two accounted for a large chunk of the scoring last season, but that will not be the case anymore. Shae Kelley’s long collegiate journey has led her to Minnesota. She spent the last two seasons at Old Dominion and averaged 17.8 points and 9.7 rebounds last season. The athletic 6-1 forward is a great fit for this offense and should be right there with Banham and Zahui when it comes to scoring.

Sari Noga and Micaella Riche are significant losses and the Golden Gophers will have to find a few other players who are ready to step up and help the big three. Junior guard Shayne Mullaney is certainly capable. She started in all 21 games in which she played last season and averaged 7.7 points and 4.1 assists. Having her around for a full season will be helpful. Mullaney is a very good shooter, but rarely looked to shoot last season. Guards Stabresa McDaniel, Mikayla Bailey and Joanna Hedstrom also have some starting experience. The depth in the frontcourt could be a big issue. Kayla Hirt could start on the wing, but there is not much experience in the frontcourt beyond that. Having players average 36 minutes per game is not going to work in this system and the depth must be there for it to work.

Final Projection:
This Gophers team is brimming with potential. If Coach Stollings can put all the pieces together, Minnesota will get to the NCAA Tournament. Picking up some big wins along the way was something this team failed to do last season. Now they should have the weapons to at least beat a couple of the top teams in the Big Ten and have some signature wins to show off to the selection committee.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Shayne Mullaney, Junior, Guard, 7.7 points per game
Rachel Banham, Senior, Guard, 22.1 points per game
Kayla Hirt, Junior, Forward, 6.7 points per game
Shae Kelley, Senior, Forward, DNP last season
Amanda Zahui, Sophomore, Center, 15.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.7 (149th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.5 (78, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.8 (23, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.9 (32, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (145, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.3 (4, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.1 (23, 4)
Rebound Margin: 2.7 (102, 6)
Assists Per Game: 15.6 (47, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.8 (93, 6)

Madness 2015 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#6 Rachel Banham

Madness 2014 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#56 Carlie Wagner


See All Top 44 Women’s Basketball Previews