HAWAII GROWN REPORT
COURTESY RAM PHOTO
Rachel Kane, a 2003 graduate of Punahou, appears to have come all the way back from two knee injuries.
Pain-free, Punahou’s Kane finds success with Gonzaga
STORY SUMMARY »
Rachel Kane's senior season is what she envisioned when she first went to Gonzaga.
Everything else before that? Not so much.
Multiple injuries to her right knee has turned Kane's college career into a story of determination and perseverance.
Through it all, the recently engaged Kane has never lost focus of her true passion in life.
For the first time in college, she is fully healthy. And it shows on the basketball court.
Fresh off its first WCC title and NCAA tournament appearance, Gonzaga is poised to make a run at the big dance.
Kane is one of only two seniors for Gonzaga. Because of injuries, she has been around the program longer than anyone and is the leader of the young guns.
FULL STORY »
All it takes is one word to sum up Rachel Kane's basketball life.
For much of her Gonzaga career, the '03 Punahou graduate has had to deal with agonizing pain in her knee.
Kane first tore the ACL in her right knee as a freshman in high school, but came back to be a two-time all-state selection and ILH player of the year her senior season.
It earned her a scholarship at Gonzaga, where she became a starter just the second game of her collegiate career.
But halfway into her freshman season, she injured the same knee again. This time however, she decided not to have surgery.
"The doctors thought it'd be best to give it time to heal," Kane said. "They thought it'd be better than to go through another surgery, so I listened to them."
She played with it throughout her sophomore season, but only regained her starting status in the postseason tournament after a starter went down with an injury.
The knee continued to bother her and finally gave way in the first preseason game of her junior season, as her ACL and MCL tore completely.
"At that point there were times that I was just like, 'Why is this happening to me?' " Kane said. "'Did I do something wrong?' "
Kane relied on the support of friends and family to help get her through another rough rehabilitation process.
It was even tough for her coach to see.
"It breaks your heart, it really does," Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. "I don't think people who are outside of the sports themselves understand how difficult that is to go through rehabilitation for eight or nine months or even a year."
Kane missed the entire 2005-06 campaign, but bounced back to play her first full season last year with no injury problems.
She started 22 games and helped lead Gonzaga to its first West Coast Conference tournament championship and trip to the NCAA tournament.
"That has probably been my biggest moment so far," Kane said.
With a knee finally allowing her to do the things that made her such a valued recruit for Graves, she showed her all-around skills in the title game, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
"She really showed us at the end of last year how good she could be and how important she is to us," Graves said. "She could have been the MVP of our conference tournament."
With an extra year of eligibility remaining, Kane enters this season as one of two seniors on the team.
She is joined by redshirt freshman Tatriana Lorenzo (Kamehameha '06), who is also returning from a torn ACL suffered early in her freshman season.
Kane is the only senior who has been around the program from the start, and her leadership will be vital in helping the Zags make it through the early part of the season.
"It's like her 10th year here," Graves joked. "But seriously, she becomes even more important because she needs to help the young players get accustomed to the Gonzaga basketball culture which is very important to us."
What's important to Kane is she finally won't have to wear a brace on her right knee.
"I finally don't have to wear that thing," Kane said. "It feels good."
The Zags opened the season with four consecutive wins at home, including the program's first victory against cross-state rivals Washington.
They have since dropped their next three on the road. Kane has started all seven games and is second on the team in assists, but is still struggling to find her shooting touch.
"What I've seen a lot out of her this year is a willingness to shoot the ball and be aggressive," Graves said. "Her shot isn't falling yet, but that is what we need out of her."
Her perseverance through it all serves as a great example to the younger players on the team, as well as her coach.
"I love to see her succeed," Graves said. "She could have easily said, 'Hey, God doesn't want me to be a basketball player.' It just shows you what a competitor she is and it's great to see how it has worked out for her."