The turmoil in Ukraine is hitting one Bay-area basketball player especially hard. USF Women's Basketball shooting guard Inga Orekhova still has family there. Her grandmother, cousins, and aunt live in Crimea.
At 6'2, there's not much Orekhova can't rebound from.
"I learned how to shut everything out when I'm on the court, because I feel like anytime I bring something on the court, I can't focus," Orekhova said Wednesday.
Still, the unrest in her home country of Ukraine isn't easy to tune out.
"I have mixed emotions. One part, I'm mad. I can't help my family. I can't go over there, pack their stuff, and take them with me," she said.
Orekhova just visited her family in August. She says it's hard to hear how her home has changed in a few short months.
"My grandma's telling me that they can't really do nothing. Everyone's still going to school and work. But my grandma was telling me it's weird, as you're walking around, seeing all these people with masks on and guns," Orekhova said.
While the U.S. government is alarmed over reports of a Russian invasion in Crimea, Orekhova says her family finally feels stable with Russian forces there.
"They are more calm now, they feel more safe," she said.
While she watches and waits, the USF senior says it reinforces the liberties of her home away from home.
"You take a lot of things for granted until it happens to you. That's when you start appreciating things differently," she said.
Orekhova is set to graduate from USF in May. Her goal is to get drafted into the WNBA.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?