Jennifer O'Neill lucked out.
It's an odd notion considering the ill fortunes buried beneath that statement.
She starred on a 2014-15 University of Kentucky basketball team whose inconsistent season culminated in a shocking NCAA Tournament second-round defeat to Dayton.
She was not chosen in the WNBA Draft despite being the 2015 Southeastern Conference Sixth Player of the Year.
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She instead was talking with Gerardo Batista, head coach of the Puerto Rican National Team, about keeping her basketball career alive.
"I was really lucky," O'Neill said.
She wasn't lucky because she was the emotional leader of a talented UK team and lived out her dream of becoming, as she pledged when she was 10 years old, a "premier basketball player," but because of one phone call.
She was lucky because the day before she was to board a plane to Puerto Rico and start the journey through the unheralded world of women's national basketball, she received the call that few professional hopefuls get.
"I got the call from my agent saying that the Minnesota Lynx wanted to invite me to their training camp," she said.
The Minnesota Lynx are the current crown jewel of the WNBA. With a roster loaded from top to bottom with players such as Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson, the team founded in 1999 has won 117 games since 2011. The two-time WNBA champions (2011, 2013) sit atop the Western Conference this season with a 12-3 record.
To fall into that lap of luxury — happenstance, perhaps.
To go from a 25-9 NCAA Tournament team to a WNBA Western Conference leader — a privilege.
"I was very lucky," O'Neill said. "I came in at a perfect time."
That time came during training camp when the Lynx needed to reduce their roster to 12 players. With Monica Wright not 100 percent, a guard spot became available, closing the door on forwards Shae Kelley and Asia Taylor and opening it for O'Neill.
She had prayed for an opportunity and "God gave it to me."
Kelley and Taylor, both draft picks, were waived.
As the prospect of not being drafted increased, O'Neill was resilient. She remained focused, hitting the gym and hoping for a chance. When that opportunity came, she was ready.
"Regardless I'm going to put my work in," said the 5-foot-6 O'Neill. "Good thing I was working out that whole time because I came into training camp in shape and confident. I just got lucky and got a spot."
That spot remains tentative for O'Neill, who is a backup guard. She has yet to start and averages just 8.3 minutes a game. Her 2.4 points per game won't turn many heads, but she knows that. It all comes down to understanding, a lesson the passionate O'Neill learned from her years of clashing with UK head coach Matthew Mitchell.
"Everything has been new to me," she said. "Everything has been like growth and new experiences. I didn't want people to think I was cocky coming in here. I kept quiet, listened and practiced really hard."
Learning the game is almost as tough as bridging the talent gap between college and professional basketball. Without guidance, the path forward is uncertain, which is why O'Neill is thankful for the support of five-time all-star Augustus.
"I have like really, really great talks with her," she said. "It's amazing how humble she is and how much she's accomplished. I definitely look up to her now."
Shared life lessons only go so far though. To find success in the competitive world of professional basketball, O'Neill will need to grow the seeds that have sown her success and hope more of that "luck" comes her way.
Wearing the Minnesota jersey and walking through the tunnel onto the court of Target Arena is a start.
"I told you, I lucked out," O'Neill said.