— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) September 30, 2018
The New York Liberty’s representation in the FIBA Women’s World Cup ended with medals, as Tina Charles earned gold and Rebecca won silver.
Two members of the New York Liberty will bring back medals to New York from the Canary Islands.
Tina Charles comes back with the ultimate souvenir, a gold medal earned from the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Tenerife, Spain. For Charles, it’s her third World Cup championship, also capturing gold after the events in the Czech Republic and Turkey in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
In their final victory, capping off a 6-0 run in the tournament, Charles and the Americans defeated Australia 73-56. Left with a consolation silver is Charles’ Liberty teammate Rebecca Allen.
Though Charles struggled in the final, limited to six points and four rebounds, she played a big part in defending the USA title. In each of the first two rounds of the tournament stage of the World Cup, Charles led the team in rebounds.
Prior to earning seven in the 93-77 semifinal victory over Belgium on Saturday, Charles picked up a tournament-high 15 rebounds, tied with Australia’s Elizabeth Cambage in another semifinal that day, dominating the interior in a 71-40 win over Nigeria in the quarterfinals.
Throughout the entire event, Charles ranked sixth in rebounds per game with 7.3, an American-high. Her total tally of 44 ranked fifth overall, and she was one of four Americans to average double figures in scoring, ranking third on the team with 10.3 points per game.
Charles, along with several other Americans, took to social media to showcase their new hardware.
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 30, 2018
On the WNBA Instagram account, Charles recently spoke about her American inspiration, looking back fondly on the 1996 team that captured gold at the Atlanta Summer Olympics.
“I’m playing for my country, playing for those who came before me,” Charles said in a Thursday post. I remember growing up watching the ’96 Olympics in Atlanta. That was the dream for me.”
The antics of that team, which included the Americans’ current coach Dawn Staley and future Liberty star Rebecca Lobo, kicked off a continuing period of prosperity for USA women’s basketball. Since then, they’ve gone 100-1 in FIBA competition, and have earned five more Olympic golds in addition to their trio of World Cup titles.
The Liberty’s other medalist is Allen, who earned silver with the Australians. Though she likewise struggled in the gold medal game, scoring two points on 1-of-6 shooting, Allen was nonetheless instrumental to the Opals’ 5-1 mark.
Though Cambage dominated the stat sheet, Allen managed to finish second on the team in points (8.8) and defensive rebounds per game (3.7), and she led the team in steals per game (1.2), a mark that was good for a 10th-place tie for the whole tournament. Her top performance was a 16-point effort on Friday, part of Australia’s 83-42 quarterfinal win over China.
— Katie Smith (@katiesmith30) September 30, 2018
While the other Liberty representative of the tournament, Canada’s Kia Nurse, did not earn a medal, she put the basketball world on further notice with a strong individual effort after an eventful rookie season. Her 18.2 points per game led the Canadiens and was third amongst all athletes. She concluded the event with 17 points on Sunday, as Canada topped Nigeria 73-72 for seventh place.
Held every four years, this year’s edition going down in Tenerife, the FIBA Women’s World Cup has seen the Americans capture gold 10 times, with the defunct Soviet Union behind them with six. In Sunday’s final, the United States held Cambage to seven points, by far her World Cup-low, and jumped out to a big lead with a 26-11 advantage in the third quarter. Brittney Griner led the way with 15 points, while Breanna Stewart added 10 points and eight rebounds.
With their victory, the Americans have secured their spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics, set to be held in Tokyo.