Currently in first place in the Eastern Conference, the Connecticut Suns All-Star center Tina Charles states the key is, “to not settle,” in order to stave off complacency and wrap up a conference title.
The team begins a 10-day road trip, the longest of the season, against the Chicago Sky on Tuesday Aug. 28 who surprisingly handed the Sun an 82-71 loss this past Sunday.
“We just have to keep building on leads, eliminating turnovers,” adds the second year pro furthering, “as long as we just keep playing hard and everybody keeps doing their part and even more, we’ll be fine.”
Assuredly, the WNBA’s 2010 over-all number one draft selection, Charles returns with a “golden” motivation to return to the playoffs after tasting Olympic victory in London 2012. “It was a dream come true, especially to be with those group of girls and collectively just come together and get that done … was really unbelievable,” expressed Charles.
Back state-side, fully rejuvenated and nearing the start of the mid-September playoffs, Charles says the team is “not really looking at the playoffs right now” and is very much focused on the day-in, day-out scheduled opponent in front of them.
Despite an early first round exit from the 2011 playoffs against the Atlanta Dream last season, one-third of “The Big Three” explains, “I wouldn’t see it as pressure at-all; we’re still in the regular season.”
Charles certainly understands pressure, being a part of the legendary Women’s UConn Huskies Basketball team which repeated as 2009 and 2010 NCAA Champions in phenomenally unbeaten fashion with a then record of 79-0 under head coach Geno Auriemma. “I became a young woman when I was there,” revealed Charles adding, “Coach Auriemma just doesn’t teach you the game of basketball, he teaches you the game of life.”
The 2010 NCAA Championship victory afforded the Connecticut Sun the opportunity to meet with the nation’s first basketball couple, President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. “To be the first women’s basketball team in the White House ... was a really good experience,” reflected the 23 year-old Olympic Champion.
Despite the championship pedigree, team accolades and Presidential recognition, the All-Star center doesn’t believe women’s basketball gets the credit it deserves. “I think we’re making ways to it ... but I still don’t think it’s there or where it should be,” believes Charles wanting the uniformed fan to understand, “We play with class, we play with a lot of pride ... we play for one another and we definitely do play as a team.”
Crediting Lisa Leslie as her motivation to play the game, Charles “will not settle” on or off the court when comes to garnering team championships and recognition for the sport.
“Love of the game and having my faith,” states Charles as her primary source of daily motivation. “I go out there and play hard, that’s my job.”
Follow @TinaCharles31 on Twitter