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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Atlanta Dream "elated and surprised" to land Tiffany Hayes

Former UConn star Tiffany Hayes poses with the WNBA's Renee
Brown after being taken by Atlanta with the 14th pick in Monday's
WNBA draft. (Photo courtesy of WNBA)

 I just got off the phone with Atlanta Dream head coach and general manager Marynell Meadors to get her reaction to adding former UConn star Tiffany Hayes to the two-time defending WNBA Eastern Conference champion.

Atlanta sent its first-round pick to Washington in a deal to acquire Lindsey Harding. When the Dream made its first pick of the draft Meadors was stunned to see that Hayes was still available and she wasted little time in deciding to take the 5-foot-10 lefty guard with the 14th overall pick.

"We were elated that she was but surprised that she was still there," Meadors said. "I (like) her energy level, she is very quick and we like that We like to get up and down the court. She is very aggressive. Sometimes she plays a little too fast but will slow down once she gets a little more mature."

Hayes had the luxury of playing alongside Maya Moore for three seasons and is at her best being a secondary scoring option. Atlanta has a go-to player in Angel McCoughtry so Hayes could have a chance to have a role similar to the one she had earlier in her collegiate career.

"She won't have to carry us, she just has to do what she does," Meadors said. "Anybody who comes out of the UConn program knows how to win championships and we like that about her."

Second-round picks are not guaranteed to make the squad. A spot is available since Atlanta chose not to bring back guard Iziane Castro Marques. Meadors she that Hayes will likely have to compete with Romina Ciappina, a member of Belgium's national team, and WNBA veteran Laurie Koehn for one spot on the Atlanta roster.

"There will be three players vying for a position," Meadors said. "Angel McCoughtry  is our starting 3 (small forward). I know that Tiffany is good enough to swing from 2 (shooting guard) to 3 and we have several other players who can do the same thing. I look for her to come in and do really well, just relax and play her game that is what she needs to do.

I also asked Medors about former UConn guard Ketia Swanier, who was signed by the Dream in the offseason.

"I think she brings in a lot of energy and strong skill set for the point guard position," Meadors said. "Last year we had to play Lindsey Harding way too many minutes and so I look for Ketia to come in and really vie for that starting position but I also think the good thing for her is she can swing to the 2 guard slot." 

Former Memphis guard Brittany Carter was signed to a training camp contract by the Connecticut Sun.

The 5-foot-9 Carter played at Georgia as a freshman before transferring to Memphis where she averaged 15.5 points per game. Carter had 71 double-digit scoring games and scored at least 20 points on 25 occasions.

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Anonymous Lorena Wood said...

Jim -

How is Hayes going to get her 3PT shot off in the WNBA? It's a slow deliberate set shot.

Hayes role in Atlanta is likely to get to the FT line. But there must be some concerns with her tendency to drive into double teams and lose the ball.

What percent chance do you give Hayes at making the opening day roster for the Dream? WNBA not have the patience that UConn had.

Thanks for your comments.

7:45 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

Hayes played against the best competition for four years and managed to get her shots off. When she's on the court with McCoughtry, Lyttle, Harding etc. etc. I don't think focusing on Tiffany Hayes is going to be a focus of the opposing team.

I don't know much about the player from Belgium but I would think she'd have a pretty good chance of beating out Laurie Koehn but it will come down to how well she plays in camp.

10:40 PM 
Anonymous Lorena Wood said...

Hayes numbers in UConn's big games were consistently down.

Not so much because she failed to show up.

But more so because the competition was better - Baylor, ND, Stanford

WNBA bodies are bigger, faster, and stronger than 95% of the competition Hayes played against.

Obviously teams will not be focusing on Hayes but WNBA players will close out on her very quickly.

Other WNBA teams did not pass up on Hayes because Atlanta supposedly wanted her.

There are legitimate concerns that might be overcome with 1 or 2 years playing overseas.

I hope Hayes makes it and has a decent WNBA career as a role player.

But it would not shock me to see Hayes sit on WNBA benches much like Heather Buck has at UConn.

7:03 AM 

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