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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

UConn's Chong hoping to deliver against Stanford again

Back on Nov. 11 it was all so simple for Saniya Chong.

The only scholarship freshman on the undefeated UConn squad, was summoned off the bench with UConn trailing Stanford by a point in an offensively-challenged opening several minutes.

Starting point guard Moriah Jefferson didn't respond well when the Stanford defenders were practically begging her to attempt shots from perimeter so she got an early seat on the bench. After missing her only shot and committing a turnover in a span of 2:46, Brianna Banks also returned to the bench and it was time to see what Chong could do. Just 65 seconds after coming in, Chong drained a 3-pointer and added an assist while playing nearly three minutes.

By game's end she had six points (on a pair of 3-pointers), three assists, two steals and no turnovers in 17 minutes. Two games later she would record the first of five double-digit scoring games.

Everything seemed to be clicking for Chong who played at least 15 minutes of 23 of the first 28 games of the season and even starting four games in a row while Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was out with mononucleosis. However, since Mosqueda-Lewis has returned, minutes have been hard to come by for Chong.

Chong has five field goals in the last nine games she has played in with three of them coming in the NCAA tournament opener against Prairie View A&M. She played one minute in each of the last two games and it was simply so UConn could run the clock out. The low point had to be late in the first half of the BYU game when Bria Hartley was brought back into the game with 1:54 left in the first half even though she had two fouls. It was a signal that Auriemma didn't trust either Chong or Brianna Banks to even play a minute during a key stretch against a team seeded 12th in the Lincoln Region.

Before heading to Nashville Auriemma met with the media and I asked him if he would be able to trust one of his reserve guards if the Huskies were in a similar situation at the Final Four.

"I think the biggest part of what we are going to do is to find out who we can trust. I asked them today (Thursday) 'why is it that we could trust you guys in November and December and don't have that same level of trust today?' A lot of that has to do with their approach to the game. They decided in November and December that mentally they were going to be involved with what is going on and somewhere along the line that went away. Can it come back? You never know what happens in the Final Four."

Chong, who is averaging 4.9 points per game with an impressive 60/27 assist to turnover ratio, is hoping that she gets a chance to play quality minutes against Stanford tonight.

"Definitely I am trying to go out there and give it my all and I am hoping coming off the bench that it is a positive thing," Chong said. "I hope that it not because they were doing bad, I hope I get a chance just to show what I can do.

"It is hard to deal with, it is hard to think about but once I get my chance I have to give it my all."

There will be a live blog up and running during tonight's national semifinals.

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Blogger Charles Calhoun said...

Saniya is a great scorer and when given a chance. (Ie minutes of playing time) she will produce. Were I coaching UCONN I'd have her on the court more and handling the ball. She makes fine passes (but you need the ball to do that), seldom commits a turnover, and is a record setting 3 point shooter just waiting to hit her stride.
She also shot 88% free throws in high school. Just saying.

8:35 PM 

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