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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Atlanta Dream coach thrilled with Tiffany Hayes' development

When former UConn star Tiffany Hayes was available with the 14th pick in April's WNBA draft, the Atlanta Dream's Marynell Meadors believed she got one of the gems in the draft. When I spoke to Meadors, an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team, following Sunday's practice it is clear that Meadors is loving the pick of Hayes more and more with each passing day.

With a sprained knee keeping the WNBA's leading scorer Angel McCoughtry out of action for the last four games, there was an opportunity for Hayes to have an expanded role. She certainly made a bid for more playing time when the WNBA emerges from it's month-long Olympic break.

Hayes scored in double figures in five of the last six games Hayes averaged 13.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Hayes, who had some issues shooting the ball early in her rookie season, shot 53 percent from the floor during that span.


"She is not a rookie anymore, she has elevated herself to a second-year player," Meadors said. "She is playing absolutely outstanding for us. She is working extremely hard. On our defensive assignments, she has the best offensive guard and has done an excellent job.

"She is (playing) 20 plus minutes and it is really good for rookies to get that many minutes. Her scoring and 3-point shooting has increased, it is doing better. Defensively, she is all over the court. She is a help defender, she is guarding her player, she is just doing a great job for us."

Hayes' defensive versatility has been a major bonus for Atlanta.

"We've had her guarding the 1, 2, 3 and sometimes the 4," Meadors said. "She is big enough that she can guard bigger people because of her quickness, the lateral quickness that she has she can defend just about anybody on the court. I was greatly surprised when she was there at 14. Everybody who selected before us did us a huge favor because she is big plus for us."

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