After suffering a knee injury in her sophomore season, Vishe Rabb is Making a comeback to the court
The Augustana University sophomore was averaging a team-best 14.2 points per game last year. But a collision with another player during the second week of conference play ended her season.
She didn’t realize the significance of her injury until a couple of weeks after it happened.
“I ended up colliding with a girl in the last six seconds of the game, I think it was to tie the game, so I went three weeks without getting checked up on and I thought I was going to be back to play within a few weeks,” Rabb said. “Finally, I went to get an MRI and they told me that I had torn my meniscus and my ACL. From there, it was just surgery in January and trying to start the recovery from there.”
The frustration hit her, but she’s determined to make a comeback and is planning to return once the season rolls around.
Rabb is a 2017 graduate of Springfield High School. She scored 1,728 points in her career and averaged 26.3 ppg, 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game during her senior season and was named to the All-Journal First Team. She was a three-time All-Tomahawk Conference selection during her standout career.
She arrived at Augustana during the 2017-18 season but she sat out for redshirt reasons. While she was talented enough to play right away as a true freshman, she admits she wasn’t ready yet and that redshirt decision was for the best.
“I would say that redshirt year, I’d recommend it to anyone that’s ever questioning it, because that first year I learned a lot of things that I wouldn’t have been able to pick up fast enough just jumping into playing,” Rabb said. “It gave me a chance to actually develop my skills more and develop my basketball IQ even further to play against such great talent.
“It was a great learning experience as a whole, but it at times it was a difficult concept to grasp because you’re working so hard all through the week, and then the weekend comes around and you know that you’re just going to be on the bench,” Rabb said. “You have to be supportive of teammates, you have to be sure that you’re still mentally showing up, knowing that you’re not going to see the floor. It was very interesting I think.”
The Vikings began to recruit her after her junior year of high school. Up until that point, she was a fast riser on the high school scene and for the MN Rise summer basketball program.
“That was one of my favorite things from high school basketball,” she said of the Rise. “It got me really used to playing at such a high speed, kind of like at the college level. It definitely prepared me in that way while also seeing other talent from the surrounding area, it showed me that these girls were working just as hard as me and they had the same goal. I got really close with these girls and it was a lot of fun.”
Prior to her freshman year, she had to mentally prepare herself to play in a tough conference. She knew what to expect, but it still wasn’t easy making the transition from Class A high school basketball in Minnesota to Division II college basketball.
“You know right away that it is great competition, you know there are girls who can do exactly what you can do, some even better,” Rabb said. “You have to really be able to just know that you have to work hard for every quarter of the game. That goes with practice as well, you have to have the work ethic and the team chemistry so I think that was a huge part, too.”
She made an immediate impact once she played in her redshirt freshman year in 2018-19. There, she was named the NSIC Freshman of the Year and appeared in all 33 games, starting in 15 of them. She averaged 10.7 ppg on 45 percent shooting from the field and she also grabbed 3.3 rebounds.
“It was definitely a transition, it was kind of one of those things where I was picking up things as I was going,” Rabb said of that season. “At times it was extremely difficult and at other times it just came naturally, so I had to take the things that came naturally and take it and run with it and the things that didn’t, I just had to take it with a grain of salt.”
After making an impact in her freshman year, she was challenged by her coach to become more aggressive with her shot selection for her sophomore year.
She was doing just that, leading the Vikings in scoring this past season. Then on December 6 in what was her final game of the season before the injury, she scored a season-high 21 points against Winona State. It was her breakout year by all means as she scored in double-figures in five of the games for the Vikings and averaged 24.5 minutes per game. But now she had to deal with a knee injury and she was dealing with more than just the injury at that point.
“I think it took me a while to kind of get out of the denial phase of the injury to mentally work on just staying positive,” Rabb said. “I said ‘ok, I just have to work that much harder next season and I’ll be in the same position.’ It definitely was frustrating, knowing that I would have to just sit on the sideline. Dealing with my mental health and my injury, sometimes it was pretty difficult. But now I’m getting to a point where it feels like I’m getting back to normal, where I can go out and shoot baskets if I want, I can work on my ballhandling. It’s gone full circle, I’m back in a positive mindset now.”
She said that she’s reached out to a lot of people during the process of getting back to 100%, but she knows the process will take a while even when she resumes play in late fall. She said that she was cleared to resume normal basketball activities such as jump shots in early June so she’s working on that process.
“I have definitely been talking to my mom and my coach,” she said. “When I come back, I can’t expect to be exactly how I was, it will be baby steps getting back there. It’s just taking it one small step at a time for me.
“It’s very weird, because you don’t want to get into bad habits, but you also want to keep practicing and keep getting your shots in every day. It’s trying to find the balance and where I need to draw the line and stop.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, she’s been able to get a lot of her shots off at home. She thinks that she will be cleared to play around August when she goes to school.
“For me, I’m just going to be working on getting that clearance,” Rabb said. “Getting more of my confidence back, to actually feeling that I can play fullly. For the rest of our scheduling and everything, that just really depends on what COVID has in store for us and everything. Focusing on myself isn’t the worst thing in the world.”