The Huskies had missed 10 of their first 11 shots and eight in a row to open the game Monday. Breanna Stewart was already on the bench with two fouls. And, trailing No. 3 Stanford 4-2, they desperately needed a spark offensively.
Enter freshman Saniya Chong with 12:56 left in the first half. Unfazed by the magnitude of the national spotlight or the fact that she was competing in her first big-time, she calmly stepped up and drained two 3-pointers in a span of 53 seconds.
“I knew that our team wasn’t hitting shots, and I knew that coming in I had to do my share,’’ Chong said. “Once I got in there and they weren’t guarding me, I just shot those two shots and that was good. I was really happy, actually. I was really excited knowing that our team was a little off in the beginning. And then coming in off the bench and hitting two shots right off the bat was a pretty amazing feeling.’’
They were shots normally reserved for upperclassmen or All-Americans. But in just the second game of her career, Chong is proving that she belongs on the big stage.
She finished with six points, three assists and game-high two steals in 17 minutes. Again, she did not commit a turnover.
Chong has not committed a turnover in 40 minutes through the first two games.
“When Saniya came in and knocked those two in, she’s been doing that in practice,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She’s not really afraid of anything. I really admire the way she approaches playing games and in practice. She made a bunch of really good plays (Monday).’’
Keep an eye out for All-American Bria Hartley on Mike & Mike at 9:40 a.m. and then on SportsCenter at 12:40 p.m. She is filling for the injured Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis at ESPN studios today.