STORRS, Conn. -- Saniya Chong has picked up the pace and is making up for lost time as her time with the University of Connecticut women's basketball team begins to wind down.
The Huskies' guard enters Saturday's Senior Day game against Memphis at Gampel Pavilion (SNY, 4 p.m.) having played at least 30 minutes in 13 consecutive games, including all but 22 seconds of top-ranked UConn's 90-45 rout of No. 23 Temple Wednesday night at the XL Center. In her first 122 career games, Chong reached the 30-minute plateau seven times.
There may be no rest for the weary but she knows there's only, at most, about five weeks and 11 games remaining.
"I can't get my last three years back so I'm really just trying to give it my all now," Chong said. "The past three years haven't been exactly what I wanted, but I have had the best four years of my life. I'm getting opportunities here that I would have never gotten anywhere else. Coming here has been the best decision I've made. I'm so happy that I came this far."
The Ossining, New York, native has made no secret about all the ups and downs she's been through since she arrived on campus. Earning coach Geno Auriemma's trust has been hard.
But as a senior she's been a reliable cog in a run that has pushed UConn's NCAA record winning streak to 102.
It started with a big fourth quarter in the Huskies' narrow season opening win at Florida State and continued with a clutch 3-pointer that iced a victory at Maryland. She matched her career high of 20 points and added eight assists in the 90th consecutive win against South Florida.
On the season she is averaging 7.9 points and 3.9 assists in 29.4 minutes per game. Her assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.08 leads the American Athletic Conference and the nation and is on pace to smash Moriah Jefferson's school record of 3.08 set two years ago.
"I think it's about being consistent," Chong said. "The past years I would have a really good game but then be completely invisible. This year I'm being consistent and reliable. It's definitely about confidence. That's a huge thing for me. I'm going out there and just playing and being the teammate that my teammates need me to be."
Her 135-game career totals have her at 716 points, 251 rebounds, 266 assists with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.33, and 105 steals.
Since she and Tierney Lawlor arrived on campus, the Huskies are 143-1 (.993). Of course, Chong is the first to admit that they have ridden the coattails of Jefferson, her former high school rival Breanna Stewart, and Morgan Tuck, to get much of that.
But UConn's Class of 2017 could break the record for wins by a class held by the Huskies' Class of 2016 (151) and break the mark for top winning percentage by a class (.974) held by UConn's Class of 2011 - Maya Moore and Lorin Dixon.
Chong will happily settle to match last year's class with the four national championships, though the other records would likely come along with that.
And no program has won five NCAA titles in a row.
"We have a shot at the fourth and I'm hoping we get it," Chong said. "We could make history the way they did and a little more. It would be a great feeling to be a senior and go out with four national championships. Four national championships and more wins? I would love to tell Stewie about that.
"I'm confident we can do because we've worked so hard. Since the beginning and all the doubts, all of us are coming together and proving to the world that we can do it. And just having four national championships on my back just like the great three … You're not the only ones."
Chong played her final game at the XL Center Wednesday and Saturday will be her final regular season game at Gampel Pavilion. With the Huskies in line to host first and second round NCAA tournament games next months, she figures to get two more shots in her on-campus home.
But Chong has been doing the "last time" thing for six months.
"I started doing that in preseason," Chong said. "We were doing individual workouts and when we finished I thought, 'This is it for me. Good luck to you guys.' "
Chong came to UConn as the only scholarship player in the class. But she'll leave with Lawlor, who joined the team as a walk-on freshman and was given a scholarship by Auriemma two years ago.
"It's going to be pretty emotional but also amazing that we came in together and we are about to leave together," Chong said. "I wouldn't want anyone else to walk out with except Tee."
But with one Ossining High player leaving, another will be joining the Huskies next season.
Andra Espinoza-Hunter, who was a teammate of Chong's as a seventh and eighth grader at Ossining, arrives here in June. Who's better than Chong to give her a little advice.
"I would tell her to never give up," Chong said. "It's going to be a struggle in the beginning. Every freshman goes through it. She's going to have her ups and downs. Every freshman does. It's a new experience and you're juggling school and being on the court and all the hours that go into that. So, never give up and give 100 percent."
Chong, who will receive her bachelor's degree in sociology in May, figured that out for herself.
Now she hopes to go out on top.
"When I first came in here, I didn't expect much," Chong said. "To come this far, it has been an amazing ride. And I just can't wait to finish it with the girls."