WNBA Connecticut Suns coach Stephanie White put it simply after the game: “We’re going to go as far as our guards take us.” On Sunday, Connecticut’s guards carried the team offensively, with 12 points apiece. One of those guards is former Winter Haven standout Tiffany Hayes. The win came in game one of the WNBA semifinals Vs the New York Liberty. The win is considered an upset. Game 2 is tonight at 8pm.
Hayes, 34, is an 11 year veteran with the WNBA, but this is her first season with the Connecticut Sun.
After moving from Lakeland to Winter Haven prior to her freshman year, Hayes arrived at her first basketball tryout as a “long, lanky, barely 100-pound” freshman, recalls Blue Devils coach LeDawn Gibson. Despite her youthful frame, Hayes made the varsity thanks to her obvious natural talent and led the Blue Devils to three consecutive state championship games, winning a pair of titles. She’s garnered All-State honors every season and was named Class 5A Player of the Year in 2006-07.
According to a sports illustrated article Hayes “developed that win-at-all-costs attitude early in her career. Tiffany’s mother, Jenny, was a basketball star at Kathleen (Lakeland) and Polk Community College before going on to coach at both Kathleen and Lake Gibson.
Hayes played from 2008–2012 for UConn. She and her UConn Huskies would go 4 consecutive seasons to the final 4 in women’s college basketball, winning National Championship in 2 separate seasons. She would rack up numerous stats.
In 2012, Hayes, was drafted in the second round (14th overall) of the WNBA draft to Atlanta. She would rack up WNBA rookie of the year in 2012, WNBA All-Star (2017), all WNBA first team (2018) and All-Defensive Team (2018).
This year with the Suns she is averaging 12 points 3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Tonight’s game against the New York Liberty is set to tip off at 8pm.