Thursday, January 3, 2013

Josie Buckingham and the New Look Gopher Women


A couple months ago I wrote about the Minnesota Gopher women's guard glut. Since then, Kenisha Bell of Bloomington Kennedy (2014) de-committed and Alex Ionescu from Romania left the program.

Between the 2 of them, a scholarship or 2 became available. 1 of them was filled yesterday with a verbal from Josie Buckingham, the Gophers' 2nd big 2014 post from Ohio.

The 1st was Terra Stapleton, 6-4 from Fairfield, OH, #94 in the country I think according to MaxPreps. Stapleton scored 21 ppg on 63 percent shooting with 13 boards and 4.5 blocks last year for a 23-1 team.

Buckingham, from New Richmond, OH, is an inch taller. Last year she scored 15.5 ppg with 10 boards and 5.5 blocks on a 17-5 team. This year she's down to 14.5 ppg with an inexperienced roster, though they're 3-1. All of that is a bit misleading: The scoring over 4 games is even-steven, the 3 wins by a total of 10 points and the loss by 10 points. Meanwhile, Buckingham's scoring includes a 33 point game, 2 10 point games and a 5-pointer.

Still, "she's the best player on the floor every night," said her coach, "because she is so disruptive and gets so many rebounds." MaxPreps seems to have her rated at #376 nationally in her class.

Add 6-5 Swede Amanda Zahui B., who has just recently joined the Gophers and is expected to be redshirted this year, and of course the incumbent Micaela Riche (6-foot-2), and suddenly the Gophers are no longer a team of guards, but rather a team of posts.

Meanwhile, the 2013s consist of Joanna Hedstrom, Minnetonka guard, the #25 point guard in her class (ESPN HoopGurlz) and Stabresa McDaniel, an "active" 5-10 wing from Texas. McDaniel is the #57 wing in her class according to ESPN HoopGurlz.

Gopher Depth Charts

C- Loberg, Riche, (Zahui B.--redshirt?)
PF- Kellogg, Hirt, J. Johnson
SF- Noga, a 3rd guard
PG- Mullaney, Cotton
SG- Banham, Bailey, Jane Thompson

Still hard to assess this team. The one that played the 2nd half against Creighton could be a 20-win team. The one that played the 1st half against Creighton would be lucky to win 10 (of course, they've already won 11, so we know they're better than that).

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. 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, Josie Buckingham
PF- Stabresa McDaniel, Jackie Johnson
SF- Kayla Hirt
PG- Mullaney, Hedstrom
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?

Also, Gopher die-hards are still hoping to see Carlie Wagner joining the Gophers this year.


Another transition year as Banham moves on.

C- Zahui B., Stapleton, Buckingham
PF- J. Johnson, McDaniel 
SF- Hirt, McDaniel
PG- Mullaney
SG- Hedstrom, Bailey, Coughlin


C- Zahui B. or or Stapleton or Buckingham
PF- Stapleton or Zahui B.
SF- McDaniel
PG- Coughlin or Hedstrom
SG- Hedstrom or Coughlin

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