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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tiffany Hayes off and running in her second pro season

I'll have to admit to being a little unsure of how former UConn star Tiffany Hayes' second season in the WNBA was going to transpire.

Hayes was thriving under the guidance of veteran head coach Marynell Meadors but when Meadors was let go and assistant coach Fred Williams took over Hayes' minutes began to dwindle. Of course some of it had to do with perennial All-Star Angel McCoughtry returning to the court. However, I wondered if Hayes would be able to carve out quality playing time under Williams.

Looks like there was no cause for concern. Hayes is averaging nearly 24 minutes in the first seven games of the season and despite some shooting woes, her scoring average is up from 8.6 points as a rookie to 10.6 this season.

"It hasn't been that hard because whatever the team needs me to do I just do it," Hayes said before Sunday's game against the Connecticut Sun. "If it is more minutes, if it is less minutes whatever it is I go out there and do my best. I think my teammates have been helping me when I go out there.

"My decision making is a little bit better. It still needs to get better but it is something I have improved on from last year to this year."

Playing for an Eastern Conference team allows Hayes to make multiple trips back to Connecticut during the WNBA season but each time back is still special for her.

"This place has some of the best fans that  I have ever witnessed and every time I come here they show love so there is always love when I come back to Connecticut," Hayes said.

Hayes and a veteran Atlanta team headed into the game with the best record in the WNBA and after threatening to win the WNBA title on multiple occasions, could this be the year they earn that elusive first title.

"We are all excited about this year and we are all saying that this year could be something special for us," Hayes said. "We just have to keep it up playing great and be consistent with what we are doing."

Speaking of winning it all, Hayes experienced the thrill of being a member of a national championship team during her UConn days. She watched from afar as the Huskies ascended to the top of the women's basketball world by winning the program's eighth national title.

"I was able to catch a couple of games and I definitely did see the championship game and I was so proud of them," Hayes said. "I knew they could do it the whole season, it was just a matter of them coming together and at the end they pulled it together and won a championship so I am definitely happy for them

"It was kind of weird watching on TV and (thinking) 'I was just there last year.' I did my four years and then I was able to watch them do a job well done and I was definitely happy for all of them."

Hayes was especially thrilled to see former teammate Kelly Faris leave UConn with another national title.

"She deserves it, she is one of the hardest-working players  I ever played with so she is one who definitely deserved it a lot," Hayes said..

Hayes said she is uncertain where she will be playing overseas during the winter. Ticha Penicheiro recently became her agent and they are still working on a deal to get her to play overseas.

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