For more than a week, Keshia Brown has tried her best to avoid watching the news.

Headlines about the violent protests going on in the Ukraine proved to be too much for the Chesapeake resident who worried about the well-being of her sister — former Hampton University basketball standout Keiara Avant — who was playing professional basketball in the country.

"Oh we've been so nervous," said Brown, who along with other family members have Skyped with Avant several times a day since the violent civil unrest began.

"It would make me anxious every time I'd watch CNN so I tried to stop watching the news as much as possible," she said.

Brown said she and her family were able to rest easier Thursday knowing that Avant was home. Avant arrived in Hampton Roads on Thursday night after living and working for the past six months in Kiev, Ukraine.

"It's definitely a relief to have her home," she said.

Avant — who was named the 2013 MEAC Player of the Year — moved to Kiev in September to pursue her dream of playing professional basketball, Brown said. She had planned on living in the country until the season was over in April.

"It was a great opportunity for her to play professional basketball and live in another country," Brown said. "She met awesome teammates and really enjoyed living there."

In November, Avant began telling family members that protests were going on in the country but the demonstrations were peaceful, Brown said.

According to media reports, the protests were in response to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of an agreement that would have given the country closer economic ties with Europe.

Avant had protesters outside of her apartment, Brown said. However, when the protests turned violent the country's basketball league canceled games and at one point Avant remained inside of her apartment for three days. The protests also led to Brown canceling a trip to Kiev planned for later this month.

Earlier this week, Brown said the family decided it was time for Avant to return home.

"It was mutual decision," she said. "We couldn't predict what the country was going to do and we didn't want it to get to a point where she couldn't get out."

Vaughn can be reached by phone at 757-247-7870.