Feb 8, 2017
Saniya Chong has been through, and seen a lot, during her three plus years as a part of the UConn women's basketball program.
She’s been a part of three national championship teams, and hit key shots (see Maryland games 2016 and 2015); she’s missed time with injuries (last year’s IT band in particular), and sat for inconsistent play.
This year though senior Chong has been the model of consistency, and while the “Core Four” of Katie Lou Samuelson, Kia Nurse, Gabby Williams, and Napheesa Collier gets most of the accolades and award nominations, it is Saniya Chong that is the backbone of the undefeated Huskies, their most consistent player.
“Saniya, just looks so comfortable out there,” head coach Geno Auriemma recently said, “like she’s in charge of [her] emotions and game. Everything seems to be exactly where she wants it to be, at both ends of the floor.”
On Sunday, the day we conducted this Dishin & Swishin interview, it was to the tune of 17 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. By the way, the nation’s leader in assists to turnover ratio, Chong had zero turnovers in that game as well, a 96-50 victory.
She is poised to become the next player to win four national championships should the Huskies cut down the nets this year, joining her celebrated teammates Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck.
Her trials and tribulations as a Husky are not lost on Chong; she talks about it freely, saying “I am a senior, and I can’t get the past years back. I try to work hard, and I try to stay consistent.”
Chong’s success has her teammates thrilled; each praises Chong’s teamwork, effort in practice, and stability in leading them.
“Saniya has been really good this year, consistently in practice, and in games for us,” according to Husky leading scorer Samuelson, ”we know we can count on her and she has been doing a great job distributing the ball and playing well."
We wanted Chong on Dishin & Swishin prior to that Sunday success though; who better to discuss what it is like to be a part of the Huskies than their senior leader. Chong is the one that stays on the court in order to keep the wheels turning with the freshmen when Auriemma goes to the end of his bench. As good as this team is, Nurse and Williams as juniors are the upperclassmen getting minutes, while Collier and Samuelson are sophomores.
Freshman Chong had the tutelage of seniors Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley. Now Chong is the mentor to Crystal Dangerfield and the rest of the freshman. She does not take it lightly. Nor does she overlook her role as mentor to a legion of junior Husky fans that come to the game looking to see their heroes.
Thank you again to Saniya Chong for staying after the rest of the team left Gampel Pavilion to talk to Dishin & Swishin. Congratulations on your success and good luck the rest of the way.
Enjoy the podcast!