Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tiffany Hayes has a career night

Tiffany Hayes wasn't sure what to expect when she couldn't buy a basket during UConn's shootaround on Wednesday morning. But once she the game started, Hayes was unstoppable as she scored a career-high 35 points in Wednesday's win at Syracuse.

"I just think it was a good day," Hayes said. "From what I remember, it has definitely been a hard place to shoot from. At shootaround, I was struggling but during the game I felt it so I kept letting it go and they were going in."

The amazing thing is that Hayes needed only 15 shots for the 35 points.

"It reminded me a game Sveta had when she scored 39 points on 14 or 15 shots," Auriemma said. "That kind of production, that kind of efficiency that is what good players do. Anybody could get 35 if you take 30 shots or 25 shots but to do it the way she did it and still get everybody else involved in the game ... It wasn't just solely coming down and doing my thing, she did it within the framework of what we do and that makes it all the better."

Auriemma was actually encouraged by what he saw from Hayes at shootaround. Sure, he would have preferred she made a few more shots but her attitude when the shots didn't go in was a positive step forward.

"Unlike other times, she didn't just walk away from it and say (forget) it," Auriemma said. "She got involved. Our shootarounds are not just come out here and throw up balls at the rim. She got involved and did other things, she was part of 'this is what we are going to do offensively, this is what we are going to do defensively' and she was able to kind of capitalize on that. Sometimes you come to shootaround and you make everytthing and in the game, nothing goes in. I am happy for her. There has been a big difference in her, I have seen a change in herin the last couple of weeks and not just on the court either. She has a pretty clear vision right now of what she wants to do and how she wants to do it and I thrilled for her."

Her teammates obviously could tell early on that Hayes was feeling it.

"I knew when we were playing you could just see that Tiff was going," said Hartley, who assisted on three of Hayes' six 3-pointers. "She gets out in transition and has a lot of open 3's. She knew she was going to take them and she knocked them down."

Hayes passed Cathy Bochain, Jen Rizzotti and Wendy Davis to move into 14th place on UConn's career scoring list.

In perhaps the biggest statistical oddity of the night, this is the fourth time in the last five games against Syracuse that a UConn player had at least 34 points. As a point of reference, there have been 17 such games in the history of the program. It started back on Jan. 17, 2009 when Maya Moore had 40 points. Then in a game on Feb. 24, 2010 Moore went off for 38 points. Tina Charles put up 34 points in a Mar. 7, 2010 game against the Orange in the Big East tournament.

UConn commit Breanna Stewart, a star at nearby Cicero-North Syracuse (N.Y.) was part of the record crowd of 4,357 at the Carrier Dome for the game.

Naturally, Auriemma was asked about Stewart in the post-game press conference.

'"Our coaches, we like to ask if this kid was 5-10 instead of 6-4, would she be a really good basketball player, would she be one of the top 10 players in the country?" Auriemma said. "A lot of times the answer is no. The reason a kid, a big player, is good is that they are 6-4. Breanna, if she was 5-10, she'd still be one the best players in America (because of) the fact that she is so competitive and is skilled and has a really good understanding of not only the game but her affect on the game.

"It's tough being a freshman at UConn and she will find that out. It is very difficult because the expectation level is going to be really high. There are going to be times when she can't meet those expectations. But if you were to draw up something and say what does a kid need  when you come to UConn as a post player, wing or anything - she can play any position she wants - what does that person need? She has all of those qualities and she is an even better person than she is a basketball player and you don't find that too often. We are lucky, we end up finding those kids."

After the game Auriemma said that junior guard Caroline Doty, who missed Wednesday's game with a bone bruise in her left knee, is still on track to return to practice on Friday and play on Saturday against USF.

"Right now that is the plan," Auriemma said. "We have a day off tomorrow. Friday, she is going to get a workout in, hopefully the entire practice and we are planning on playing her on Saturday."

Doty suffered the injury when UConn played at DePaul on Saturday and missed her first game of the season. Freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis started in her place and had 19 points.

"Not being able to be on the bench and see the mistakes we are making and then go out there and make a change, you kind of just have to go on the fly," Mosqueda-Lewis said after her first collegiate start.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jim: Your comments always have a lot of depth and help us in the outlaying areas get closer to the UCONN team. We signed up for CPTV and while we come close to going nuts watching all the advertising, it is always good to read comments from you.

From Alaska

4:50 PM 

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