There was a stretch earlier this season when the Huskies needed freshman Saniya Chong to step up and make an impact. And she did.
Chong averaged 8.1 points in 23.8 minutes during an eight-game run when Morgan Tuck and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis were sidelined due to injury. She scored a season-high 16 points (5-of-8 FG; 3-of-6 3-pointers) in 27 minutes at Penn State Nov. 17.
With only five games remaining in the regular season, the Huskies would like to see Chong regain her aggressiveness offensively. This has not been problem in practice. But in games lately she has been tentative.
“She’s practiced well,’’ UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She’s looked really good. She’s not going to look like Bria Hartley or Moriah Jefferson at this point. But she looked really good for that whole week that we had off. It’s just she’s got to get over this mental block that she’s developed a little bit about being tentative. And little by little I think she’s going to get over that. I know she has confidence in herself. I know she knows she’s a good player. I know she know she’s a good offensive player. And I want her to just trust her instincts and go play. That’s what I like about her and we’re going to try to get her back to that point sooner rather than later.’’
Chong has gone scoreless in back-to-back games for the first time this season. She was 0-for-3 from the field (0-of-2 3-pointers) in a career-high 37 minutes in her first start at South Florida Sunday. She was 0-of-2 – both 3-pointers – in 15 minutes against Louisville Feb. 9.
Overall, Chong has scored more than three points and attempted more than three field goals in just six of the last 15 games. She has been scoreless in five games during this span.
“It’s just all a mindset of me just trying not to make mistakes,’’ Chong said. “Just being unsure a lot of times. But that’s what the whole thing is I have to get out of my head. Stop thinking that way and just be very aggressive and just give it my all.’’