If she has that same feeling Tuesday, it could be a long night for the league-worst Tulsa Shock.
Charles and the Eastern Conference-leading Sun go for a season sweep of the Shock, who are mired in an 11-game road losing streak.
After scoring a season-low four points in Thursday’s 79-66 loss at New York - the team’s first game back from the WNBA’s Olympic break - Charles finished with 23 points and nine rebounds Saturday in an 85-74 victory over the Liberty.
The league’s second-leading rebounder (11.2 per game) played 38 minutes, including all 20 in the first half.
“I have never not taken her out in the first half,” coach Mike Thibault said. “I talked to her and said, ‘You let me know when you need a sub tonight.’ She said, ‘Coach, I’m staying out there.’ So, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ I might not say that to some other people, but I know when she is feeling that way.
“She had that look in her eye. I know she didn’t like the other night in New Jersey and she wanted to make up for it.”
Charles’ production could be even more important moving forward with fellow U.S. gold medalist Asjha Jones batting a strained left Achilles’ tendon. Jones missed the Sun’s final contest before the London Games, played sparingly in the Olympics and has sat out both games since the break.
Mistie Mims has stepped up her game in Jones’ absence, averaging 14.0 points and 6.3 rebounds while starting each of the last three contests.
While Connecticut (16-5) has been able to fill the void left by its star forward, the Shock (3-17) have stumbled without their best player, center Elizabeth Cambage.
The 2011 All-Star hasn’t played with Tulsa all season after training with the Australian team that won bronze in London, and she’s not expected back until Aug. 30 against Los Angeles.
Rookie forward Glory Johnson has given the Shock a tough low-post presence with 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, but Tulsa is averaging a league-low 30.0 boards.
The Shock have been outscored by a combined 29 points in the fourth quarter of their two losses following the break.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and figure out why we’re giving up so easy in the second half,” Johnson said after Tulsa was outscored 25-7 in the final 10 minutes of Sunday’s 83-59 loss at league-best Minnesota.
The Shock didn’t look ready to go in the first quarter of their 86-75 home loss to the Sun on July 6, getting outscored 25-10. Charles played just five minutes of that opening period due to foul trouble but finished with 24 points and 10 boards.
Tulsa is the league’s only team without a road win at 0-8 and has lost 11 straight away from home since a 77-75 victory over Los Angeles on Aug. 26.
The franchise record for consecutive road losses is 17 from July 24, 2001-July 18, 2002, when the team was based in Detroit.