March 2020: the Oregon Ducks women's basketball team has three All-Americans, the best college player in the nation, and a No. 2 ranking in the AP Poll while riding a 17-game winning streak.
This was their year. Sabrina Ionescu forwent going first overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft to return to Eugene, to complete some unfinished business.
Instead of winning the first national title in program history, the world was struck by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sports world was shut down as a result. The shutdown included the full cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament, in which the Ducks were a favorite to play for the title.
Now, one year later, on the eve of the 2021 NCAA Women's National Championship game between Stanford and Arizona, two Pac-12 teams, Ducks head coach Kelly Graves tweeted he believes his team was going to win it all last year, making it back-to-back national titles for the conference.
His players think about it, too.
A team many expected the Ducks to play in the championship game last season was South Carolina. On Friday, the Gamecocks played Stanford in the Final Four leaving Ionescu thinking of what could have been.