New York Liberty star Tina Charles was named to the final World Cup roster, as the Americans seek their third consecutive gold.
Tina Charles will officially represent her country at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Tenerife, Spain, as one of a dozen WNBA stars chosen to represent the United States.
It will be the third World Cup experience for the New York Liberty star, as the American women seek an unprecedented third consecutive title. In the previous victory, held in 2014 in Turkey, Charles averaged 10.7 points and 8.3 rebounds over six games. Notably, Charles paced the team with 18 points and nine rebounds in the medal round semifinal victory in Istanbul, an 82-70 win over Australia.
In the ensuing championship game, Charles again scored in double figures, scoring 10 points, while adding a team-high eight rebounds in the 77-64 win that allowed Team USA to capture the gold.
Liberty head coach and two-time World Cup gold medalist Katie Smith was part of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, serving as the athlete representative. USA Women’s National Team Director Carol Callan headed the committee, which also featured Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller, Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler, and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma.
Auriemma, Charles’ coach in college, coached the team in their previous two World Cup trips, as well as their likewise victorious trips to the Summer Olympics in 2012 and 2016, but the position is now filled by University of South Carolina head coach and former WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley.
“I feel real good about this team and what it can do to help us defend gold at the World Cup,” Staley said in a team statement released by the Liberty. “I feel that we got the best 12 to represent us, although it was extremely hard getting down to that number. But, that’s what it’s all about, having a great pool of players to get down to 12. We could have easily brought 15 players, but the roster has to be cut down to 12.”
Team USA has spent the past few weeks engaging in exhibitions in preparation for the World Cup, the latest coming this week in Antibes, France. Though Charles was a favorite to make the roster as is, she nonetheless impressed in the final exhibition on Monday, tallying a double-double to the tune of 14 points and 12 rebound in a 77-60 victory over the French.
Born in Jamaica, Queens, Charles is one of three New York natives on the national team, as Seattle Storm teammates Breanna Stewart (Syracuse) and Sue Bird (Syosset) were late additions, fresh off winning the 2018 WNBA Finals.
Partaking in Group D play, the Americans will open up the tournament against Senegal on Saturday (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN+). Check below for the full American roster and schedule.
|4||Jewell Loyd||Guard||Notre Dame||Seattle Storm|
|5||Kelsey Plum||Guard||Washington||Las Vegas Aces|
|6||Sue Bird||Guard||Connecticut||Seattle Storm|
|7||Layshia Clarendon||Guard||California||Connecticut Sun|
|8||Morgan Tuck||Forward||Connecticut||Connecticut Sun|
|9||A’ja Wilson||Forward||South Carolina||Las Vegas Aces|
|10||Breanna Stewart||Forward||Connecticut||Seattle Storm|
|11||Elena Delle Donne||Forward/Guard||Delaware||Washington Mystics|
|12||Diana Taurasi||Guard||Connecticut||Phoenix Mercury|
|13||Nneka Ogwumike||Forward||Stanford||Los Angeles Sparks|
|14||Tina Charles||Center||Connecticut||New York Liberty|
|15||Brittney Griner||Center||Baylor||Phoenix Mercury|
|9/30||TBD (Medal Round)||3:00 p.m.||ESPN|