Where are they now?: Tina Charles
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 23:11
In her first game in a UConn uniform, women’s basketball freshman Breanna Stewart scored 15 points, collected 8 rebounds and blocked 4 shots in a victory for the Huskies. Stewart comes into the season as one of the most hyped players in the country and program history.
That is obviously lofty praise for a freshman, especially considering the talent UConn has had in past years. Stewart’s size and skill conjures up images of a former Husky great, Tina Charles.
Charles and Stewart have a couple of things in common. For one, both stand 6’ 4” tall and played high school basketball in New York. They each also were once named the Gatorade National Players of the Year in high school.
Charles made an immediate impact in her freshman season at UConn. Averaging 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds, she was named the National Freshmen of the Year and set UConn freshman records from most double-doubles, most blocks and most rebounds.
The next season was even better for Charles as she increased her averages to 14.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game and was named to the All-Big East First Team, as well as the AP All-America Third Team..
After her junior campaign, Charles was selected to the All-Big East First Team once again. Then, she finally accomplished what she came to UConn to do—win a National Championship. Led by Charles and Maya Moore, UConn rolled through the NCAA Tournament, winning every game by at least 19 points. Charles was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after she posted 25 points and 19 rebounds in the National Championship.
The following season, Charles picked up right where she left off, averaging 18.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 61 percent from the field. Not only was Charles named the AP Player of the Year, but she also led UConn to its second consecutive national championship with a 53-47 win over Stanford in the title game. Charles finished her career as UConn’s all-time scoring and rebounding leader.
After leaving UConn, Charles was selected with the first overall pick in the 2010 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. In her first season, she was named the WNBA Rookie of the Year and set league records for rebounds and double–doubles. Charles has increased her scoring average every year she has been in the league and in 2012 she won MVP honors with averages of 18 points and 10.5 rebounds a game. Over the summer, Charles also played for the USA at the 2012 Olympics in London and won a gold medal.