With all the scoring Saniya Chong did last year, Jalay Knowles flew relatively under the radar. With the elite guard now at UConn, the pressure is all on Knowles — a junior — to carry on the Ossining legacy.
In her first year without Chong, Knowles (pictured right) has done a masterful job of keeping the Pride in contention for its fifth title in program history, and fourth in-a-row, averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per contest. The junior forward etched her name into Ossining’s history books on Thursday, becoming the 12th player in program history to score 1,000 points.
Knowles entered Thursday’s contest needed 11 points to join the school’s millennium club. She finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, scoring the memorable basket before halftime in a 71-22 win against Harrison at home.
Pride coach Dan Ricci said Knowles’ milestone points came off a left-handed floater, a perfectly symbolic gesture that shows how Knowles is trying to up her game. A dominant force in the paint, Knowles has worked to become a more well-rounded forward, establishing a long-range jumper and getting more comfortable with her left hand.
Ricci said that Knowles has already received numerous Division I offers from schools such as Fordham, Monmouth and Central Connecticut, and has drawn interest from Iona and Hartford. There will never be another Saniya, at least probably not for several decades, but having Knowles for this year and next isn’t a bad protege.
Photo credit: The Journal News