Selland returns from season-ending injury

Skyler Jackson, Sports Editor (He/Him)

For the first time in over nine months, Myah Selland made her long-awaited return to the court last week.

The redshirt junior made her first appearance this season in the Gulf Coast Showcase Nov. 26 against Massachusetts. She played 18 minutes and scored six points with two rebounds in an 81-63 loss.

The next night against No. 15 UCLA, Selland was in the starting lineup, scoring nine points and adding three rebounds in 14 minutes as the Jacks upset the Bruins 76-66.

This was the first game action for Selland since her season-ending ACL tear she suffered late last season.

Back in February, the women’s basketball team was playing against North Dakota State. After 26 minutes, Selland had 10 points, four rebounds and four assists before she went down and heard a pop in her knee.

“We were playing NDSU up in Fargo and just had a play, went down, felt a pop in my knee, and knew it wasn’t really good,” said the 6-foot-1 Letcher, South Dakota native. “There was a load of emotions that night, and I was really glad to be able to be surrounded by my teammates.”

Selland and the team found out the next day that she had torn her ACL that required surgery and would sideline her for the rest of the season.

Now Selland was determined to get healthy again. Her focus was looking ahead to the next step in her recovery and getting back to where she wanted to be.

“After the surgery was done, I think she really got locked in to get back competing to return to our team and she’s had really a champion’s mindset throughout that time,” said coach Aaron Johnston. “Myah was really inspiring to herself, her teammates and our coaches with the way she approached it with a positive attitude, and then her determination to get back so quickly.”

But this wasn’t the first time Selland has dealt with an injury. Nine games into the 2019-20 season, Selland suffered a season-ending foot injury. Selland said she used those past experiences to help her throughout her current recovery process.

“Unfortunately, I was getting maybe too good at this,” Selland said. “I had to lean on, ‘hey, I’ve done this before.’ And I was able to come back and play at a level that I wanted to. I was capable of doing it and just had to buckle down and do it again.”

The amount of support Selland gets from those close to her meant a lot to her, and it added to her drive to get back and play the game she’s always loved.

“It’s about finding the right perspective of it all,” Selland said. “I love SDSU. I love playing basketball here. I love being a Jackrabbit … I just want to make the most of that, and I have had the opportunity to do that.”

Before Selland’s season-ending injury, she had led the Summit League in points per game (19.2) and ranked third in assists per game (3.8). The Jacks started the 2020-21 season 18-2 and were riding a 15-game winning streak. 

Despite not having last season’s Summit League player of the year, the Jacks managed to win their final three regular-season games and finished with a 21-4 record overall, their best in program history.

But Selland’s injury seemed to catch up with the Jackrabbits in the Summit League tournament, as they lost in the first round to Omaha. SDSU still made the NCAA tournament as a No. 9 seed earning their first-ever at-large bid, but they fell to No. 8 Syracuse.

“Our group does a good job when an injury like that happens,” Johnston said. “You have to have two sides of your heart. One side is mourning for that person and trying to be there and supportive for that person. And the other side has to really dig in and come together to still try and accomplish what we wanted to do as a team.”

Without their best player in the lineup, the Jackrabbits have struggled to start the season, going 2-3 before Selland made her return against UMass. With Selland back in the lineup, the Jackrabbits look ahead to repeating as regular-season conference champions.

“I feel really lucky to be surrounded by such good people,” Selland said. “It makes me want to be better, and it makes me want to be better for them and for myself.”