Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Familiar faces to cheer on UConn's Chong

Dan Ricci, who coached UConn sophomore guard Saniya Chong at Ossining High School, has been a regular visitor to the Huskies' home games over the last couple of years.

Ricci is expected to be in attendance at today's regional semifinal at the Times Union Center but he will not be alone. With the Ossining team playing Long Island Lutheran in the Federation Tournament of Champions semifinals in Albany last night, the plan is to have the entire team including plenty of former teammates as the top five scorers on this year's team (Jalay Knowles, Shadeen Samuels, Stefanie Svoboda, Abby Squirrell and Madison Strippoli) played on the 2012-13 Ossining team that Chong led to first of three AA state titles.

"They are coming to the game so he said he bought a pretty good amount of tickets so the players are going to be coming to watch," Chong said. "That is pretty cool, even with our distance we still find each other and I think it is pretty amazing."

There are those who figured Ossining would not reach the level of success it did during Chong's time there. However, they won state titles both in 2014 and 2015.

"It shows me how much the program has been amazing, that senior year and ever since then," Chong said.

"He helped me so much. I think my game has definitely improved. He has taught me things on and off the court."

With freshman Gabby Williams being converted into a forward, there aren't too many guard options off the bench for the Huskies. Chong has had a quietly effective sophomore season averaging 6 points per game and adding an impressive 73/41 assist to turnover ratio. However, those numbers don't indicate where she has made the largest strides and that is on the defensive end of the floor.

"I think that since the beginning of the (season), that was a huge issue," Chong said. "We all talk about the Stanford game and how my offense was good but at the end of the day my defense wasn't so great. It was pretty upsetting and I know ever since then I have been working really hard and I have grown since then. Obviously I have a ways to go but ever since then, it has been something I really want to improve in.

"A lot of times it is not about the points but it is about what else you can do to impact the game. I think my defense will impact the game. I don't want the other team to thinking give the girl I am guarding the ball and just score all the time. I want to help contribute to my team."

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