Tina Charles’ long list of accolades is sure to secure her a place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame whenever she retires.
But admittedly, there is one glaring omission in his impressive resume which includes eight WNBA All-Star appearances, eight All-WNBA honors and four All-WNBA Defensive Team honors.
“I need a championship,” said Charles, who ranks second all-time in the WNBA in rebounds (3,640), fourth in points (7,115) and 12e in blocks (389). “I’m not afraid to say it and say it. That’s why I play. I play to win championships. I know I’m respected in this league as an individual and I know I’ve done a lot of individual things, but I’m here to show there’s a collective as well.
“It’s hard to win a championship. You definitely need the right parts. But sometimes you can’t choose the moment, and the moment chooses you. In that moment, I had the opportunity to put myself in a better position to win and I’m very grateful for that.
After 15 years in the WNBA, Charles has his best shot at reaching that elusive championship with the Storm.
Seattle, seeded No. 4, has a 1-0 lead in the first round of the WNBA playoffs and looks to knock out seeded No. 5 Washington Mystics in the best-of-three series with a win at 13. hours Sunday at Climate Pledge Arena.
“I really believe delayed doesn’t mean denied,” Charles, 33, said. “It’s something I care about. I just try to keep control of what I can control. My background is definitely different than many WNBA players, but the fact that I’m still able to do what I do, I’m grateful. As long as I’m healthy, I’m grateful.
Charles, who was the first pick in the 2010 draft, spent his first four years in the league with the Connecticut Sun, which culminated in two playoff appearances, including a playoff exit in the Conference Finals. of the East 2012.
Then she spent six years with the New York Liberty, which made three playoff trips, including a run to the 2016 Eastern Finals.
After a year in Washington, Charles signed with the Phoenix Mercury. However, her tenure only lasted 18 games when the two sides agreed to a contractual divorce, and she landed with the Storm on June 28.
“I’m grateful to be with a group that’s been there countless times,” said Charles, who averaged 12.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in 18 regular-season games with Seattle. “Making the playoffs for them is nothing new, but for me, I don’t take that for granted.”
Charles’ low scoring, rebounding and defending aside, the 6-foot-4 center gave several veteran Storm players the motivation to win it all again.
“I didn’t realize how big and happy we were until I saw her when we won the playoffs and her reaction after we won. [Thursday]said Sue Bird with a smile. “I told him, ‘It’s only Game 1.’ But she hadn’t won in the playoffs since. .
“It’s always good to have a player with a bit of a different appetite. It gives you a fresher view of things. It reminds you of what it really is and the importance of realizing it all. The longer she’s been there and the more comfortable she is, you feel it could be really special.
Charles was a bit of an afterthought in Game 1 of the playoffs while tallying nine points and seven rebounds. She struggled to gain an advantage against rookie Shakira Austin (12 points and seven rebounds) on the offensive end and couldn’t slow Elena Delle Donne (26 points and five assists) on the other end.
Rather than focusing on Charles’ individual game with Austin or Delle Donne, coach Noelle Quinn thinks a fair assessment is to evaluate Seattle’s post players against Washington’s greats.
“There was an adjustment knowing that we were crossed paths a lot,” Quinn said. “Keep Delle Donne, but have Austin on you. Also, in the Ezi game [Magbegor] played very good minutes. When Ezi cuts and dives and gets those buckets easier, those are points Tina would normally get on isolated posts.
“Tina was solid in my opinion. She had a big offensive rebound and went on a stretch where she was getting buckets in the paint. I know she will be better tomorrow.
At this point in his career, Charles had hoped to line up with superstars Washington and Phoenix, but each time their respective championship aspirations imploded due to injuries and unforeseen circumstances.
“She came hoping to play with Elena [Delle Donne] and Alisha [Clark] and it didn’t work,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “She didn’t want to come in and carry the load. She wanted to be part of a larger group.
“She probably has more respect for Sue Bird than any other player in the league in terms of wanting to play with a certain teammate. There’s an innate respect there. I think Sue is someone which, for lack of a better term, can perhaps bring out the best in Tina in this situation because she’s not the center of attention. Some of that is good and some of that is different.
Breanna Stewart said: “Obviously we want to win it for Sue and Bri [Briann January] because it’s their last year. But Tina, we know what that would mean for her.
Bird added: “Whatever drives you. I’m just trying to win. … We see that experience through Tina’s eyes. For us, we’ve made the playoffs for the last 105 years or whatever. C It’s good to remember what it’s like to make the playoffs and feel good about it.
Maybe so, but Charles, who is 7-9 in the playoffs, wants so much more.
“The ultimate is to win a championship,” Charles said. “I positioned myself. I have good players around me. The right management staff, culture, work environment and mental space. All that matters now is being able to do it.