Olympic assistant coach Marynell Meadors, who also coaches the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream – the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion – says she’s been impressed with the progression of UConn rookie Tiffany Hayes, the Dream’s second-round pick in the 2012 draft.
“Tiffany Hayes is playing outstanding basketball,” said Meadors Sunday. “She works hard every day. She shows up early and leaves late. She wants to know what she can do to get better. She has a great attitude,”
With Angel McCoughtry dealing with a bad back (she was struggling with it during USA Basketball practice on Sunday), Hayes has taken a bigger role on the team.
“Right now, since we began starting her, she defends the best offensive player the opponent has,” Meadors said. “She was Angel’s backup from the start and she is really playing well right now.
“She is doing it on offense, too. She has been taking the ball to the rim for us. She’s been very good with that. She usually is moving very fast on offense, but she’s been working on her three-point shooting. She had a couple the other night against San Antonio and a few against Seattle. She is increasing her range, too.”
Hayes has started seven of Atlanta’s 19 games and is averaging 20.8 minutes. She is averaging 7.4 points and shooting 37.7 percent from floor, but just 12-of-40 from three.
By the way, former Connecticut Sun and now Dream center Erika De Souza is the starting center for the Brazilian team the USA faces Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington.
De Souza decided to stay in Brazil during the first half of the WNBA season to train with the national team. But she is due to return to Atlanta after the Olympic break.
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