There's no telling where the Old Dominion women's basketball team's season may have ended.
Maybe in Arizona, where the Monarchs were projected by ESPN's Charlie Creme to begin the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed. Maybe in Indiana the following week, or maybe even in New Orleans at the Final Four.
Instead, the season ended in a hotel in Frisco, Texas, for former North Augusta High star Amari Young and her ODU teammates. That's where they found out their Conference USA Tournament quarterfinal game against UTEP, and then the NCAA Tournament, had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Young, a sophomore forward for the Monarchs, was settling in for a nap when one of her teammates sent the breaking news from Conference USA to the team group chat.
"I guess I didn't really process it, because I was, like, 'There's no way we're not about to be playing this game,'" said Young. "We were just getting ready, and I had just picked up my jersey from the hotel and everything. Mostly I was shocked. I don't think it had settled in for a couple days after. I still couldn't believe it."
Just like that, the Monarchs' season was over with a 24-6 record and a No. 2 seed in Conference USA.
"Don't take any game for granted, because you never know when it's gonna be your last," Young said. "I think that's the takeaway from it."
The players didn't travel back to Norfolk, Virginia, together. They were given the option to go straight home with what they had packed for the conference tournament or to fly back to school and head home after that. Though they had gone their separate ways, Young still felt her teammates' hurt.
It's difficult to already look ahead to next season when the one cut short was so promising. However, the Monarchs return plenty of pieces for Conference USA Coach of the Year Nikki McCray-Penson, a former assistant coach at South Carolina under Olympic teammate Dawn Staley.
Year one for Young at ODU was about getting used to the system and getting some experience under her belt. Her confidence grew this past season as she started all 30 games and averaged 10.6 points and led the team with 8.2 rebounds per game while playing a team-high 28.6 minutes per game at the power forward and center positions. She was named Second Team All-C-USA and earned a spot on the league's All-Defensive Team.
"I like that (McCray) gives us freedom," Young said. "We play a four-out, one-in, so I get to play the 4 and the 5. I get to be on the perimeter and on the inside, being able to post up also. She just likes to run on teams and we excel in transition, so that's something I was used to doing at North Augusta. I think that fit me well."
The work ethic and effort on the court that's produced four consecutive Class AAAA state championships at North Augusta have also translated over nicely to the college game for Young, who got the Lady Jackets' run started with titles in her junior and senior seasons.
The current group has added two more, and seniors from both classes have mentioned feeling a little bit of pressure to keep the streak going. They've also pointed out how they learned and were able to apply the championship example set by players like Young and Sarah Crews.
"That feels really good. I guess you never know who's really watching, paying attention, observing," she said. "I never knew they felt like that. ... It's really good to know that I was able to leave an impact and a mark on them that's still lasting."
She's kept up with her old school – head coach Al Young, Amari's grandfather, provides plenty of updates – and was in the gym two weeks ago as the Lady Jackets celebrated another state championship.
"It's just good that we have a little tradition going," she said. "My grandaddy, he's always calling me and telling me things he's trying to implement in their system and how he's excited for all the upcoming games. It's just good to see the tradition is still holding up. Hopefully they can get it next year, too, and keep it going."