For the upcoming season, Pam has achieved almost perfect balance. She could play 2 5-women units if she wanted because she's got 10 women who she says can be in the rotation. Whatever other issues there might be, depth won't be one of them unless the freshman class proves to be unready, then there are issues at the guard spots. But I would guess that Shayne Mullaney is the most ready of all the freshman, and Pam has now acknowledged that it might be a good idea to put Banham on the wing, as I've been saying for the past 18 months now. And with Mullaney in particular, I think Pam is right. This team can push the ball a little harder than they've done in recent years. But can this team defend and hit the boards? Overall this team looks improved from a year ago, let's say 18-12 for the regular season. Then it just depends on how they match-up the rest of the way. Wild guess, 20-14 overall.
C- Loberg, Riche, Zahui B.
PF- Kellogg, Riche, J. Johnson
SF- Hirt, Noga, Kellogg
PG- Mullaney, Cotton
SG- Banham, Bailey, Noga
+ Ionescu and Thompson (both guards)
Seniors in boldface
C- Riche, Zahui B., J. Johnson
PF- Kellogg, Stabresa McDaniel, J. Johnson
SF- Hirt, Noga, McDaniel
PG- Mullaney, Hedstrom
SG- Banham, Bailey, Noga
With a nice senior class, this could be the peak of the Banham years if Mullaney, Hedstrom and Bailey, with help from Hirt and Noga, are a sufficient help at the other guard spot. And, yes, one of 'em, at least, has gotta come through, right? The frontcourt looks solid both in terms of the front line and with Jackie Johnson, probably off the bench but now in her 2nd year. So maybe 20-10 regular season, and being a little more bullish on the post-season, let's say 24-12 overall.
C- Zahui B., Terra Stapleton, Jackie Johnson
PF- Stabresa McDaniel, Jackie Johnson
SF- Kayla Hirt
PG- Mullaney, Hedstrom, Bell
SG- Banham, Bailey, Coughlin
A lot and I mean A LOT will depend on Stapleton and McDaniel, about whom we know fairly little at this point (have never seen them play). But Banham's senior year looks like a bit of a transition year. I mean, of course, a lot will depend on Kayla Hirt, too. I mean, maybe they're the 2nd coming of Whalen and McCarville. But the supporting cast is a bit young. Let's say 18-12 again, and 20-14 overall.
And by the way, if Mikayla Bailey turns out to be a world-beater and ends up playing alongside Banham (i.e. as a starter ahead of Mullaney), do you think the Gophers will be marketing the "Banham and Bailey Circus" before we're done?
Another transition year as Banham moves on.
C- Zahui B., Stapleton
PF- J. Johnson, McDaniel
SF- Hirt, McDaniel
PG- Mullaney, Bell
SG- Hedstrom, Bailey, Coughlin
Still a nice nucleus but I'm not going to speculate on a W-L record this far out. Like I said, much will depend on the 2 girls from Texas and Ohio whom we have not seen play. Of course, I've never seen Amanda Zahui play and if she still ends up as a Gopher, add 2-3 wins all the way around. What a front court that would be: Zahui (class of 2016 or 2017), Stapleton (2018), McDaniel (2017), Jackie (2016). I would take my chances with that.
Plus Carlie Wagner, who would be an upgrade at the guard spot. Add Zahui and Carlie and sky's the limit.