December 13, 2023 

Tiffany Hayes announces retirement from WNBA after 11 seasons

Hayes plans to continue playing overseas in the WCBA

Veteran Connecticut Sun guard Tiffany Hayes announced her retirement from the WNBA on an episode of the Counted Me Out podcast on Wednesday. Hayes, who helped lead the Sun to the WNBA semifinals in 2023, played 11 seasons.

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Hayes won consecutive national championships at UConn in 2009 and 2010, then was drafted 14th overall by the Atlanta Dream. She played a decade in Atlanta before signing with Connecticut in February. During her time with the Dream, she was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team and the All-Star team in 2017, as well as the All-WNBA First and All-Defensive Second Teams in 2018.

“It is bittersweet to hear about Tiffany’s retirement from the WNBA,” Connecticut Sun general manager Darius Taylor said in a press release. “It has been a pleasure to have known and watched her play since her high school days—an underrated player with a big heart on and off the court. I would like to congratulate her on a wonderful career and thank her for being a part of the Connecticut Sun organization. She will always be welcomed back to Connecticut.”

During her final season with the Connecticut Sun, Hayes averaged 12.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. In the semifinal series against New York, she averaged 18.3 points and shot 53.6 percent from the field. She also had a remarkable 30-point game in Game 2, which Jacqueline LeBlanc and Howard Megdal discussed on an episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball.

“We are so grateful for the season we had with Tip,” Connecticut coach Stephanie White said. “She is the ultimate competitor and professional. She plays with passion, toughness, competes on both ends and leaves it all on the floor. I said it all season long. She’s one of the few players in the history of league that can get downhill and beat people with that quick first step.  She is elite in every sense of the word.  We wish Tip the best and congratulate her on an outstanding career.”

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During her appearance on Counted Me Out, Hayes revealed that she had initially wanted to spend her final season in Atlanta. However, she didn’t want to retire after an injured season.

“It is a business and people got to make their own decisions, but I also feel like it could happen in a certain way,” Hayes said on the podcast. “And I feel like it didn’t happen in that way. So with me, I really wanted that to be my last season but because of injuries and stuff like that, it was kind of hard to leave and then when you got people on the other end not giving me what I thought I earned for the past 10 years and I’m like okay, well I gotta go do it my I got to end my story how I want to end my story.”

Though Hayes is finished stateside, she did mention that she plans to keep playing abroad saying, “You can still watch me overseas.” She currently plays for the Shanghai Swordfish of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association, where she is averaging 24.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 3.0 steals per game.

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Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next since December 2022. She is also a sports reporter for the Sun Devils’ women’s basketball team for The State Press. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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