Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault says Tina Charles is one of the best centers in the WNBA, which is a lot like saying August is one of the hottest months of the year. Both statements are true, but vastly understated.
Leave your lawn without water in August and watch it wither. Take Charles out of the Sun lineup and chances are great the same thing would happen to the team most believe can challenge for the championship this season.
Charles, UConn’s former national player of the year, is off to another fast start in the midst of perhaps the most remarkable start any post player has ever had in the WNBA’s 16-year history. And her domination should no longer surprise anyone. Come this August in London, Charles may very well start at center for the 2012 Olympic team as it tries to win gold for Coach Geno Auriemma in London.
And if the United States wins another gold, who’s to say Charles wouldn’t be acknowledged as not only one of the best centers in the WNBA, but the best center in the world?
The Sun completed a season-opening sweep of the New York Liberty Sunday with a 92-77 win in the home opener at the Mohegan Sun Arena. And Charles was again in charge, shooting 11 of 15 in 30 minutes with 11 rebounds. In Saturday’s 78-73 win at Madison Square Garden, she scored 19 with 13 rebounds.
In just 70 career games, Charles already has 47 double-doubles. The franchise record is 50, set by Taj McWilliams-Franklin. Thing is, it took McWilliams-Franklin 241 games to do it. The WNBA record for the fastest to 50 double-doubles belongs to Natalie Williams, who did it in 91 games. At her current pace, Charles would have 162 double-doubles by her 241st game.
But there’s more. Already the fastest player to 400, 500, 600 and 700 rebounds, Charles needs just four more Friday against San Antonio at the casino to reach 800 in her 71st game. Williams currently holds that record, too. She did it in 72 games and then moved ahead to 900 (83) and 1,000 (92) in quick order.
In just her first two seasons in the league, Charles already has secured the two highest single-season rebounding totals in league history with 398 in 2010 and 374 in 2011. No one had ever had more than 363 in any season.
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