ISTANBUL (EuroLeague Women/Olympics) - Tina Charles has enjoyed many a big game in her EuroLeague Women career.
Wednesday night’s heroic performance may have been the best of all because the Galatasaray star not only put up huge numbers for the Turkish club but also made the game-winning plays at the end.
Galatasaray were in danger of losing their unbeaten record in Europe when trailing 65-64.
After a timeout, Gala got the ball to Diana Taurasi and the USA star missed a potential game-winning jump shot.
But the combative Charles grabbed her 10th offensive rebound of the game and Bourges fouled her, forcing the 1.92m center to beat the French club at the free-throw line.
Charles, having scored 23 points and drilled her first three shots from the line, sank both attempts for a one-point win.
She walked off the court with 25 points and 18 rebounds.
Charles returned home to find there was some hero worship going with the Galatasaray faithful.
Using her Twitter account, @tinacharles31 described the action as “yo these gala fans go hard they deadass chanting outside the apt #love”.
Not surprisingly, she’s been named EuroLeague Women player of the week.
Charles only turns 23 on December 5 but already has accomplished so much in her career.
After winning NCAA titles under Geno Auriemma at the University of Connecticut in 2009 and ’10, she played a vital role in the USA's gold-medal winning run at the FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic.
Charles averaged 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in less than 17 minutes per contest.
The New York native reminded everyone, too, that she loves the big games because in the gold-medal win against the Czechs, she had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Maybe the biggest reason why Auriemma, who is also the boss of the USA national team, likes having her on the floor is because of her constant glare and ferocity.
She is one of the most intimidating competitors in international basketball.
There is going to be a lot more chanting outside Charles’ apartment before this season is over.
And don’t be surprised if the USA fans are chanting her name after next summer’s Olympics in London.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images