Tina Charles, a centre for the Seattle Storm, became the fourth WNBA player to achieve 7,000 career points on Sunday. She did so with a 27-point, 15-rebound performance in the first half of the Storm’s 82-72 victory over the Atlanta Dream. Charles’ performance was her best since joining the Storm on June 28, and it came in her second start in Seattle.
“The milestone is something I’ll probably reflect back on when I’m retired,” Charles said. “Just trying to get these wins and knowing how important each and every single game is.”
Charles became the fourth player in the WNBA’s 7,000-point club after Tamika Catchings, Diana Taurasi, and Tina Thompson (who also reached the milestone with Seattle and became the first player to do so).
“That’s huge, top four,” Storm coach Noelle Quinn said. “You definitely give her her props. That’s hard to do. That’s testament to who she is, who she’s been in the league. She’s not done yet so it’s an amazing feat.”
Charles needed 14 points to reach 7,000 before the game. She reached the milestone quickly, scoring the game’s first five points and a total of nine in the first quarter before making back-to-back 3-pointers in the second to reach the mark with 5:01 left in the first half.
She hadn’t considered it recently, so when Charles was identified during a subsequent pause, she was surprised to hear she had hit 7,000 points.
“I did during my time in Phoenix,” Charles said. “I’m not saying before this game but during my time in Phoenix and when I moved up, I knew it could happen during the course of this season. I just didn’t know what was going on.”
Her ultimate totals in points, rebounds, and blocks (three) were all new highs since moving to Seattle. Charles concluded the first half with 20 points, the most by any Storm player in a half this season. Charles scored 27 points in just 13 tries, largely due to his 4-of-6 3-point shooting efficiency.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Charles-Stewart team joined Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008 as the second set of teammates in WNBA history with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in the same game. Breanna Stewart scored 18 of her 23 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds and three blocks.
The performance assisted in explaining why Charles was inserted into the starting lineup for Friday’s defeat to the Phoenix Mercury by Quinn. Charles had started her first 373 WNBA games, but in her first eight for the Storm, she had sat out. She cited this as helpful for her acclimatisation process after transferring from Phoenix to Seattle in the middle of the season.
“It really helped to come off the bench when I first got here, just being able to watch Stewie and Ezi [Magbegor] and their movements within the offense, so that really helped,” Charles said. “Playing USA Basketball also, that was a great experience for me, knowing that your role changes as the team changes.
“So my role was that the first couple of games. Now I’m inserted back into the starting lineup that I’ve been doing for the last years of my career.”
Charles has been scoring points and grabbing rebounds in each of her roles and throughout her career. She became the WNBA’s first player to reach 7,000 points and 3,500 rebounds, as well as the league’s second-leading rebounder and No. 4 all-time scorer, respectively.
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