It could have been Harvard. Then where would Maryland be?
Brenda Frese had just been named coach of the Terrapins, and she had to begin convincing top recruits to come to College Park, Md. So, out of the hands of Harvard, she plucked now-junior Shay Doron, widely regarded as the recruit that began the revitalization of the Maryland program.
Doron had moved from Israel, where she played in high school in Tel Aviv and where her family still lives, to New York and Christ the King High School -- where, yes, she had to sit through Mass -- to jump-start a basketball career that she hoped would lead her to the WNBA.
She narrowed her college choices to Maryland, Duke, and Harvard. Then she dropped Duke.
It was Cambridge or College Park.
''For obvious reasons, Harvard," Doron said. ''For very different reasons, Maryland. It came down to the reason I moved from Israel back here was for basketball and Maryland was an ACC, Division 1 school, and the most professional way of playing basketball before the next level."
Now, three years into her stay in Maryland, she's in the NCAA final, something that likely wouldn't have happened with Harvard.
Doron's future remains a bit cloudy. She's not sure about the rules regarding international play. She's not sure whether she will have to fulfill Israel's mandatory military service. But, for now, she is focused on her last game of the season for Maryland, a team that originally wasn't even on her list.
''I went on an unofficial visit [to Maryland] due to a tournament in the area, out of extreme luck," Doron said. ''From then on, I met the coaches and I just clicked right away with the coaches and they bounced from out of my top 100 into my top five."
And then to No. 1.
Peter May of the Globe staff contributed to this report.