Tina Charles had a breakout year playing her first season with the Washington Mystic while also earning her third gold medal as part of the U.S. women's national basketball team.
In 2020, Tina Charles was looking to get out of a rut. After six years with the New York Liberty, the UConn alum was traded to the Washington Mystics. But like most things in 2020, COVID forced Charles to sit out the 2020 season because her asthma put her at higher risk of catching the disease. Nevertheless, Charles didn't waste time baking sourdough bread or playing videogames like most people during quarantine. She put in the work, and when the 2021 season started, she was en fuego. At one point, she was averaging 26.2 points a game and was on pace to break Diana Turasi's single-season scoring record of 25.3 points per game; a dip after the Tokyo Olympics slowed her momentum, but she still ended up leading the league, averaging 23.4 points per game, a career best. At the Olympics, Charles was instrumental in helping Team USA win its seventh gold medal in a row while on her way to snagging her third gold medal. Despite all the accolades this season, Charles still has one key goal in mind before she retires: "I just know I need to win a championship before I retire," Charles told the Washington Post. "Obviously, some decisions are going to have to be made and I have to look into everything."