OSSINING, N.Y. – When Ossining basketball standout Saniya Chong made an official visit to the University of Connecticut, she felt at home.
Chong, a senior, made her decision and on Wednesday signed a national letter of intent to attend Connecticut and play basketball next year.
“I have been pretty excited, since yesterday (Tuesday),” Chong said. “I had a smile on my face all day yesterday and today. I even got up an hour earlier today and got to school, because I knew I was going to be signing. Words can’t describe how happy I am.”
Chong will play for Geno Auriemma, who guided the U.S. Olympic Women’s basketball team to the gold medal at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. That came months after Connecticut won the NCAA Division I women’s national championship.
“I felt I had a connection,” Chong said during a break in practice Wednesday. “We’re one big family here at Ossining, and I felt that at Connecticut. I felt I fit in perfectly with the girls and the coaching staff. The players’ personalities are all great.”
Chong had narrowed her choices to Connecticut, Louisville and Ohio State. Although she liked all three colleges, Connecticut had one other major factor in its favor – it was close to home.
“That was a big thing, also,” Chong said. “There was nothing I didn’t like about Ohio State and Louisville, but the turning point was Connecticut was close to home so that my family and friends and Coach Ricci can come and watch me play.”