STORRS, Conn. -- Saniya Chong looked into the Gampel Pavilion standsand felt the love of the sellout crowd.
But the University of Connecticut women's basketball team's senior guard -- who was escorted to center court by her parents, Andrew and Leslie, to accept a framed uniform No. 12 from coach Geno Auriemma during the Senior Day ceremony -- felt like she was taking a back seat to her father, who was having the time of his life.
"It was amazing, especially with my dad since he's a comedian," Chong said after the top-ranked Huskies made it 103 straight wins with a 91-48 American Athletic Conference rout of Memphis. "He was out there having the best time. We walked out and all he wanted to do was high-five all the girls. It's too bad all of you haven't had a chance to get to know him. He's way too funny."
Chong and classmate Tierney Lawlor were honoredand Auriemma continued a quarter-century old tradition here by starting his seniors. It was the first career start in 116 games for the Ansonia native, who received a framed uniform No. 20.
"I don't really have any words for it," said Lawlor, who did not score but had two assists -- including the pass that led to Katie Lou Samuelson's four-point play that opened the scoring, two rebounds and a steal. "It wasn't surreal but it was nice to know that we have all this support. It was a great atmosphere out there."
Chong finished with 14 points, seven assists, and two steals before departing to a loud ovation withleft.
While her parents were here to celebrate with her, another family member was here in spirit.
Chong's brother, also named Andrew, died 11 years ago. During her sophomore year at Ossining (N.Y.) High she got a small tattoo. Etched in green ink on the inside of her left wrist, it reads "1985-2006" to signify his life span.
He was on her mind as the family went to meet Auriemma.
"I did think of him and I was looking at my tattoo," Chong said. "I look at it every day no matter what. I was out there today doing it for him, doing it for my family, for everybody. I know he's proud."
Though UConn has a team rule against visible tattoos, Chong has never had to cover up hers.
Three seeds for the AAC tournament to be held at Mohegan Sun Arena are set heading into the final night of the regular season. UConn (15-0) will be seeded No. 1, while Central Florida (9-6) will be No. 4 and East Carolina (2-14) dead last at No. 11.
Temple (12-3) will be the No. 2 seed with a win over UCF or a loss by South Florida (11-4) to UConn. The Bulls can be no lower than No. 3 and would hold the tie-breaker over the Owls if both finish 12-4.
Tulane (7-8) will be the No. 5 seed with a win over Memphis (6-9), which would also make the Tigers the No. 8 seed. But if the Green Wave lose, it gets complicated. If that loss is combined with wins by Cincinnati (7-8) over Tulsa (4-11) and SMU (6-9) over Houston (4-11), Tulane falls to No. 8 which means a potential quarterfinal-round matchup with UConn. The Huskies had to hold on to beat the Green Wave 63-60 in New Orleans on Feb. 18.
It appears Cincinnati could be seeded anywhere from fifth to seventh. SMU could be seeded anywhere from fifth to eighth.
Houston and Tulsa enterplay tied for ninth place. The Cougars hold the tie-breaker if it remains even after . The winner of the 8-9 game plays UConn at
UConn's Kia Nurse (stress reaction in her right ankle) will miss her fourth consecutive game night when the Huskies take on USF at the Sun Dome in Tampa.
Auriemma was asked when the junior guard could return to the lineup.
"According to our medical staff,she should be getting back into some kind of basketball stuff," he said. "How much? I don't know. Where will she be by when we play our first (AAC tournament) game? I don't know. She told me she's playing. I said, 'I heard you're playing. I'm penciling you in for the second round of the NCAA tournament.' It didn't go over too well. I think I got a hockey puck (thrown) at my head or something. She said she's playing . What do I know?"
Nurse had played in 102 consecutive games and made 73 straight starts before aggravating the ankle injury against South Carolina on Feb. 13. The Hamilton, Ontario, native is averaging career bests of 12.8 points and 4.2 assists as a junior. She is the sixth in the AAC in assists and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.6. Nurse and teammate Samuelson are the only players in the league to rank in the top 10 in field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and free-throw percentage. The 2015 AAC Freshman of the Year is 10th in field-goal percentage at 46.2, second to Samuelson in 3-point percentage at 42.2, and third in free-throw percentage at 85.7.
UConn's Gabby Williams received a commemorative ball from Auriemma , three days after the junior forward reached the 1,000-point plateau against Temple ... Samuelson (20.9) leads the AAC in scoring followed by teammate Napheesa Collier (19.8) and USF's Kitija Laksa (19.7). The last UConn player to top a league in the scoring column is Maya Moore, who led the Big East in 2011 at 22.8 points per game ... Collier has recorded six double-doubles in her last nine games but was denied for the third time this month a career best three in a row when she finished with 19 points and six rebounds against Memphis.