Former WNBA MVP, No. 1 overall pick joins 2021 WNBA Finalists

PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today announced the signing of the WNBA’s leading scorer from a season ago, 2012 WNBA MVP and 2010 No. 1 overall pick Tina Charles.

Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman: “Tina is an elite talent in our league and adding a player of her caliber is another example of our commitment to our fans and players to pursue a championship every year. Tina has made it clear that she wants to win and wants to do so in Phoenix. For us, this move is about adding absolute top-end talent into our frontcourt which already features what we consider the most dominant player in the game in BG and the league’s best defender in Brianna Turner. We expect to be able to play all three fewer minutes which should benefit us in the playoffs.”

The decorated Charles is not only a former top pick turned MVP, but also an eight-time All-Star (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021), three-time Olympic gold medalist (2012, 2016, 2021), and nine-time All-WNBA selection, including five First Team nods (2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017). The UCONN product won 2010 WNBA Rookie of the Year after finishing her collegiate career as a two-time NCAA Champion (2009, 2010).

A gifted scorer from all parts of the floor, Charles has twice been the WNBA’s leading scorer (2016, 2021), including just last season when the 11th-year player averaged a career-high 23.4 points, shooting 45.0 percent from the field, including a career-high 36.5 percent from three. Charles has also led the league in rebounding four times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2016), and last season was tied for third in the WNBA at 9.6 boards per game, her highest mark since 2016.

The addition of the decorated Charles gives the Mercury a roster that features:

– Two WNBA MVPs (Diana Taurasi, 2009; Charles, 2012)

– Three No. 1 overall picks (Taurasi, 2004; Charles, 2010; Brittney Griner, 2013)

– Five 2021 Olympians (Taurasi, Charles, Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Kia Nurse)

– 11 Olympic gold medals (Taurasi, 5; Charles, 3; Griner, 2; Diggins-Smith, 1)

– 32 All-Star appearances (Taurasi, 10; Charles, 8; Griner, 7; Diggins-Smith, 5; Nurse, 1; DeShields, 1)

– Nine WNBA single-season scoring champions (Taurasi, 5; Griner, 2; Charles, 2)

With Charles, Phoenix now has:

– The league’s top two scorers from 2021 joining the top scoring backcourt duo in the league – Charles (23.4, 1st), Griner (20.5, 2nd), Diggins-Smith (17.7, 9th), Taurasi (15.2, 16th)

– Three of the league’s top seven rebounders from 2021 – Charles (9.6, T-3rd), Griner (9.5, 6th), Turner (9.4, 7th), and also three of the top six offensive rebounders

One of the league’s best scorers around the basket and in the midrange, Charles had the best season of her career from deep in 2021, making a career-high 50 three-pointers on career-best 36.5 percent shooting. The Mercury (Diggins-Smith, Nurse) joined Seattle (Loyd, Bird) and Dallas (Ogunbowale, Mabry) as the only teams in the league with two players who made 50 or more threes a season ago, and with the addition of Charles, Phoenix now features three such players.

A native of Jamaica, Queens, New York, Charles has played 11 WNBA seasons with the Connecticut Sun (2010-13), New York Liberty (2014-19) and Washington Mystics (2021) and has made five playoff appearances. She owns career averages of 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in 357 games, all starts.

Led by the 2021 Olympic gold-medal winning quartet of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Tina Charles and coming off the club’s fifth WNBA Finals appearance in franchise history, the three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury return to Footprint Center this summer, tipping off the season with Fry’s Food Stores Opening Night on Friday, May 6, against the Las Vegas Aces.

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