Tiffany Hayes' college career didn't end quite how she may have scripted it, with the Huskies losing for the second consecutive year to the Fighting Irish in the Final Four. But there wasn't much time to dwell on what was Hayes was soon selected in the second round of the WNBA Draft by the Atlanta Dream.
Much like here final college game, lasting until the 14th overall pick was both a surprise and a disappointment for Hayes, who many experts expected to go much higher. Still, the Dream were happy to find here still on the board and have been pleasantly surprised with what Hayes has done in the first few months of her professional career.
We couldn’t believe it," Hayes' new coach Marynell Meadors told the Norwich Bulletin's Marc Allard. "We were thinking about just drafting someone internationally because we never thought she would drop there and we also needed a back-up to Angel (McCoughtry), and she’s a good backup. She can play either two or three."
As it stands, Hayes has appeared in eight games, averaging 14.3 minutes, 4.4. points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists. She also had a knack for fouling early and often (she has 20 in eight games, including five against the Sun on Sunday), which doesn't surprise Meadors. "Tiffany is like a runaway train."
It's an assessment that could apply to almost any rookie making the transition from college to the pros. Helping Hayes: Meadors' familiarity with Geno Auriemma's style -- she'll serve as an assistant on the U.S. National Team that will play in the Olympics this summer.
“It’s been a good transition going from college to the pros, especially with this team, just because of the relationship (between Meadors and Auriemma) and the program I came from, which was nothing short from great, and that’s made it a little easier for me,” Hayes told Allard. And while we're in the very early stages of Hayes' WNBA career, Meadors sounds optimistically cautious. “She is so aggressive. I love her. I love her to death,” the coach said. “She’s blended into our system very well. She loves to run. She’s a rebounder, a hustler. She gets to loose balls. She plays with reckless abandon, and we need someone like that.”
Meadors adds that Hayes' "future depends on her and her performance" but "I can see her moving into some really good things."