WNBA Update – Tina Charles Leading for Points and Boards

The New York Liberty have the most productive player so far in the WNBA.

After another week of WNBA action two undefeated teams still remain in the association. The Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks are both 7-0 and tied for the lead in the Western Conference. Meanwhile it’s the Atlanta Dream at 6-2 that are the surprise team in the east as they sit atop the conference standings on that half of the association. However when it comes to individual efforts, New York’s Tina Charles is having a standout season thus far through seven games.

Charles, a former No. 1 overall pick, has been in the WNBA since 2010 and she has always offered both rebounding ability and scoring touch during her entire career. So far this season she leads the league in both categories. At 21.8 points per, Charles is slightly ahead of Maya Moore at the moment for individual scorers. That scoring rate is more than 20% better than her current career average of 17.4 points per game.

When it comes to rebounding, Charles is averaging 11.8 boards per game and that gives her a slight edge on Courtney Paris. Of course, the Liberty center’s rebounding ability has always fueled her scoring to an extent, but she is still yet to average more than 20 points per game in any season.  That could change this year and, if it does, then an improved field-goal percentage relative to recent seasons might be the reason why. Charles, who won the Eastern Conference’s player of the month award for May, is shooting 48.7% on the season, about 2.5% higher than her career average.

But the Liberty are currently just 4-3 overall and, as is often the case when it comes to leading scorers in basketball, there is some over-reliance on Charles in New York. That is something that Bill Laimbeer remarked on after a game in late May. While complimenting Charles for having “the whole package” he also said the Liberty “need someone to step up and be another offensive threat.” Over-reliance is certainly a legit issue to be concerned about as it can cause opposing teams to double team and it can lead to both fatigue and (knock on wood)……injury.

Interestingly enough another statistical leader is on a team that is not off to that great of a start. Jamierra Faulkner of the 4-4 Chicago Sky is the WNBA’s leader in assists thus far this season. She’s averaging 6.6 helpers per game through eight, which puts her a little ahead of Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm.

For those that want to catch Charles or Faulkner in action, the Liberty’s next game is on Tuesday (ESPN2, 10pm ET, @ Los Angeles) while Chicago play next on Friday (League Pass, 7pm ET, @ Indianapolis).


Shane Lambert