Storm's Tina Charles becomes fourth player in 7,000-point club, pairs with Breanna Stewart in rare frontcourt stat
Tina Charles is in elite company. The Seattle Storm center eclipsed 7,000 points in the first half of a 82-72 win over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday. She is only the fourth player to reach the threshold in the league's 26-year history and is the only player with at least 7,000 points and 3,500 rebounds.
Her dominating performance in her second start for the Storm came alongside one by frontcourt mate Breanna Stewart, a leading MVP candidate. They became the second pair of teammates with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the same game, via ESPN Stats and Information. The other pair is Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker for the Sparks on July 6, 2008.
Charles put up a double-double before halftime and finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks, one assist and one steal. She was 9-of-13 overall, 4-of-7 from 3-point range and hit all five free throws.
Stewart wasn't as sharp from the floor, going 5-of-13, but was at the line 13 times and hit 12 of them. She had 23 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals.
WNBA's 7,000 point club
Charles, 33, entered the contest needing 14 points and scored the first five of the game to close the gap on it quickly. She had nine in the first quarter and hit back-to-back 3-pointers to reach it.
The 12-year veteran currently sits at 7,013 points and joins a club of two Hall of Fame selections and a surefire future one.
Diana Taurasi, Charles' former teammate in Phoenix, is the league's all-time points leader at 9,651 and counting. The two-time WNBA champion became the fastest player to reach the mark when she did it in June of 2016 during her 12th season. It was her 348th career game and Charles' 383rd. Charles is the youngest by age.
Tina Thompson became the first to reach the mark in September 2012. Thompson, who played in the inaugural season of the league, did it in 460 games and finished with 7,488 points. Tamika Catchings joined her in May 2016 during her 428th game in the league. Catchings has 7,380 career points.
The next active player on the list is Sue Bird, but since the four-time WNBA champion is retiring after the season she won't hit the mark. Bird is seventh with 6,731 points.
Candace Parker is ninth at 6,344 points. The Chicago Sky star has eight games left this year, not counting the Commissioner's Cup or playoffs. If she were to play one more year, a conservative estimate for regular season games only would be about 14 points per game on average to reach 7,000.
Sylvia Fowles ranks 10th with 6,328. She has also announced her retirement and is the all-time leading rebounder at 3,937 (and counting). Charles is second with 3,580.
Charles settling in to Storm
Charles is finding her groove in Seattle after the midseason divorce agreement with the Mercury. In 10 games she's averaging 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 11 fewer minutes per game. She's shooting 53% from 2, the best of her career (with the caveat of less data through 10 games).
Her first meeting against Phoenix didn't go as well as fans might have liked, particularly in her first start with the team. She had come off the bench for the first time in her career. But Sunday's performance was what the Storm wanted when they signed her.
"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 told reporters after the game. "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."
The game also broke Charles' tie with Leslie for most regular season games of at least 25 points and 15 rebounds. Charles has 12. It was her 96th game of at least 20 and 10, respectively, per Across the Timeline. She had already led that category as Sylvia Fowles, who is retiring after the season, has 77. Leslie and Parker are tied in third with 71.
Seattle (18-10) is fourth in the standings and holding onto the final home-court advantage seed. They lead the Washington Mystics by one game going into the mini three-day break for the Commissioner's Cup game on Tuesday.