After providing ‘spark’ for WNBA team, Banham signs with a team in Australia for the offseason

first_imgAfter providing ‘spark’ for WNBA team, Banham signs with a team in Australia for the offseasonFormer U women’s basketball player Rachel Banham is in her second season with the Connecticut Sun. Kathryn Chlystek, Daily File PhotoMinnesota guard Rachel Banham carries the ball at Williams Arena on Monday, Feb. 15. Banham recently signed to play with the Bendigo Spirit in Australia as a part of the WNBL. Jack WarrickJuly 3, 2017Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintFormer Gophers basketball player Rachel Banham had her rookie season with the Connecticut Sun cut short in 2016 with a knee injury.Now, she is almost fully recovered and back in action on the court for her WNBA team. She also signed a contract to play with the Bendigo Spirit of the Women’s National Basketball League in Australia.“She’s going to be a centerpiece of what we do off the bench, and [she] provides us that person that can come in and really spark you off the bench,” said Sun head coach Curt Miller.The road to recoveryBanham has a history of knee problems, undergoing two surgeries on one knee, and one surgery on the other earlier in her career before her latest surgery in 2016.After getting drafted by the Connecticut Sun in 2016, Banham played in 15 games before needing microfracture surgery on her knee. Now, she has rehabbed her knee up to near 100 percent health and she can take the court again. Banham has played in every one of the 16 Connecticut Sun games this year.As Banham comes off the injury, Miller said she will contribute more and more to the Sun.“There’s a reason we drafted her [fourth overall in the WNBA draft]. We believe in her, and I think she is only going to continue to get better and better,” Miller said.Playing down underBanham recently signed with the Bendigo Spirit of the WNBL, a professional women’s basketball league in Australia. Banham will play for the team during the Sun’s offseason.The eight-team league allows two roster spots to foreign players with the remaining players being from Australia and New Zealand. Banham will start playing in Australia, with the Bendigo Spirit, as soon as the WNBA season ends in September. “The obvious thing is the scoring, but much more than that is her improvement in her defense, tempo control… and for her it’s about leading veteran players,” said Simon Pritchard, head coach of Bendigo. “She’s really interested in learning the international game, and we can teach her the international game.”Banham said she’s excited to head to the WNBL after her time with the Sun was over this year.“There’s a good handful of people that are in the WNBA that go over there to play and have really big years, and it’s a very competitive league, and it’s also just a really cool place to play,” Banham said.Hot as the Sun One of Banham’s 16 games was in a win against the Minnesota Lynx on June 17 when she put up 11 points on her hometown team. The perennial WNBA super power, the Lynx, had been undefeated up until the Sun beat them, and Banham as well as Miller said it was a confidence booster.“It felt really good to win in an environment as tough as Minnesota, and there’s a reason they only have one loss on the season,” Miller said. “More than anything, it was a shot of confidence.”The Sun is currently 9-7. After losing four consecutive games in the beginning of the season, the team has won eight of its last ten games.“We have a big circle around the 2018-19 season, as we are building this team,” Miller said. “We were the youngest in the league last year, and we are the second youngest roster in the league this year.”Missing the college daysBanham broke countless records while at Minnesota, including the Big Ten conference scoring record with 3,093 points, and the most points per game in a season for Minnesota with 28.6. She also tied the NCAA record for most points in a game with 60 in her senior year at Minnesota.“I definitely miss playing in Minnesota,” Banham said. “It was the best five years of my life, and it was a really good experience, and I love all the people there.”last_img read more

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British baby Charlie Gard dies, was center of legal battle

first_imgFILE- In this file photo dated Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Connie Yates, mother of critically ill baby with a rare genetic disease Charlie Gard arrives at the Royal Court of Justice in London. British media are reporting a family announcement that 11-month old Charlie Gard, has died Friday July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, FILE) LONDON | Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a contentious legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, died Friday, according to a family spokeswoman. He would have turned 1 next week.Charlie suffered from a rare genetic disease, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which caused brain damage and left him unable to breathe unaided.His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, raised more than 1.3 million pounds ($1.7 million) to take him to the United States for an experimental medical therapy they believed could prolong his life. But Charlie’s doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London objected, saying the treatment wouldn’t help and might cause him to suffer. The dispute ended up in court.Charlie’s case became a flashpoint for debates on the rights of both children and parents, on health-care funding, medical interventions, the responsibilities of hospitals and medical workers and the role of the state.Alison Smith-Squire, a family spokeswoman, confirmed to The Associated Press that Charlie died Friday but no further details were released. In a statement, Yates was quoted as saying “our beautiful little boy has gone, we’re so proud of him.”After months of legal battles, High Court Judge Nicholas Francis ruled Thursday that Charlie should be transferred to a hospice and taken off life support after his parents and the hospital that had been treating him failed to agree on an end-of-life care plan for the infant.Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child. In such cases, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their offspring. The principle applies even in cases where parents have an alternative point of view, such as when religious beliefs prohibit blood transfusions.The case made it all the way to Britain’s Supreme Court as Charlie’s parents refused to accept decisions by a series of judges who backed Great Ormond Street. But the Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts, saying it was in Charlie’s best interests that he be allowed to die.The case caught the attention of Trump and the pope after the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene. The two leaders sent tweets of support for Charlie and his parents, triggering a surge of grassroots action, including a number of U.S. right-to-life activists who flew to London to support Charlie’s parents.The hospital reported that its doctors and nurses were receiving serious threats over Charlie’s case and London police were investigating.The intervention of two of the world’s most powerful men made the case a talking point for the planet. Images of Charlie hooked to a tube while dozing peacefully in a star-flecked navy blue onesie graced websites, newspapers and television news programs.Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan said the case shows how the medical profession is struggling to adjust to the age of social media, which puts the general public in the middle of decisions that in the past would have been private issues for doctors and the family.“I do think that in an era of social media, it is possible to rally huge numbers of people to your cause,” said Caplan, of New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “The medical ethics have not caught up.”The heated commentary prompted Judge Francis to criticize the effects of social media and those “who know almost nothing about this case but who feel entitled to express opinions.”But in the end, the increased attention did little for Charlie.While offers of help from the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu children’s hospital in Rome and doctors at Columbia University Medical Center in New York were enough to reopen the case, the High Court ultimately decided the proposed treatment wouldn’t help Charlie. His parents gave up their fight on Monday after scans showed that Charlie’s muscles had deteriorated so much that the damage was irreversible.“Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you,” his parents wrote when they announced their decision. “We had the chance but we weren’t allowed to give you that chance.“Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight, our beautiful little boy.” FILE – In this file photo dated Monday, July 24, 2017, Chris Gard, the father of critically ill baby Charlie Gard reads a statement next to mother Connie Yates, right, at the end of their case at the High Court in London. British media are reporting a family announcement that 11-month old Charlie Gard, has died Friday July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)last_img read more

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Serena edges top seed Halep to reach quarters

first_imgSerena Williams staved off a spectacular fightback from world number one Simona Halep to win 6-1 4-6 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.Halep broke Williams’ serve in the first game but that was the only one she managed for the rest of the opening set as the 23-time Grand Slam champion bulldozed her way through the set in 20 minutes, serving it out with an ace.French Open champion Halep fought back in the second set to level the match after breaking Williams a second time before the seven-time Australian Open champion got the crucial break in the seventh game of the decider and sealed the match in an hour and 47 minutes.For a place in the semi-finals, Williams will meet Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova, who thrashed twice Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-1 earlier on Monday.last_img read more

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