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Shock rocked for loss again as Connecticut's Tina Charles races towards records

Center Tina Charles #31 celebrates after defeating Stanford for the National Championship on April 6, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Center Tina Charles #31 celebrates after defeating Stanford for the National Championship on April 6, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Tulsa Shock have done it again. Scrapped for the majority of a game, only to finish with a big, fat loss - their ninth in a row. This one comes at the hands of the Connecticut Sun, a 101-89 affair.

So rather than harp on many of the things that seem to continue to be struggles for Tulsa - rebounding, turnovers, free throw shooting - there was a standout performer in the game. She just happened to lace up her sneakers for the Sun.

Rookie Tina Charles.

It's hard to imagine a rookie who's already nabbed herself the share of a franchise record midway through her first season, but Charles has done just that. Her almost pedestrian - at least for her - 16 points and 12 rebounds are her sixth double-double in a row and 12th of the season through 15 games.

And there is your record, ladies and gentlemen. Not even a rookie record yet, but a franchise record. Charles' 12 double-doubles has tied a Connecticut Sun record and she still has 19 games to play.

The WNBA rookie record of 17 double-doubles in their first season is shared by Candace Parker and Yolanda Griffith. But with 19 opportunities to get just 6 more to have sole possession of the record, it's becoming more and more clear with each passing game that Charles is streaking towards shattering it.

One person who saw her play on Tuesday night was impressed - Shock head coach Nolan Richardson.

"That's incredible," Richardson said of Charles' feat. "She's a very blessed basketball player, very very gifted basketball player so when you see people like that - they come along not very often like Tina."

Richardson saw three All-Stars on the Seattle Storm team play in his gym just two days ago, but it seems his memories of Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and Swin Cash are growing dim after seeing the first-year phenom in action.

"There's no question she was the best player coming out of college last year and she may be one of the best in the league right now as a rookie," extols Richardson. "She's got everything - she's strong, she's great with either hand, she can go left and right, good jump shot, she's just a very complete basketball player."

Shock assistant coach Wayne Stehlik seemed almost surprised that Charles only had 12, rather than 15 - or one in every game played thus far.

"I don't know why she doesn't have one every game. If she doesn't, then she's probably taken the night off," Stehlik dead-panned. "She's got great skills. It's rare to see a player anywhere that's able to use that left hand as well as she does and you know she's gonna use it and you scout on it and you work on it, but it's still - she has that gift that it's a nice, soft hand and she can use both hands so well but to be able to use that left hand, that's quite a gift right there."

And as everyone remembers from her time at the University of Connecticut, just down the road from Uncasville in Storrs, Charles knows a thing or two about streaks and records - and of course, winning.

Charles herself seems a shade nonchalant about the newest streak of which she is in the midst.

"I feel great about it - It's hard to get it every night and keep going at it and especially in the post where it's so physical down there," said Charles. "Just the fact we're winning, it makes it even better. It's definitely rewarding, but I'm just going out there and trying to do whatever it takes to win. I'm just going to keep being out there on the boards and helping my team."

And also nonchalant about the newest accomplishment from his rookie is Sun head coach Mike Thibault, who is ready for Charles to post big numbers every time she steps on the court.

Any coach would expect big numbers from last year's college player of the year and 2010 number one draft pick, but this pace is practically unheard of, no matter the expectations . All but three games with a double-double, and two of those just a rebound or two away from making the mark.

"Every game it seems she gets a little better at seeing things on the floor and getting used to double teams," Thibault said. "I'm expecting it all the time - I'm spoiled."

Now that I'm done pontificating on the behalf of Charles, let's get to some notes and quotes from the rest of the game:

To be fair, there was more than one standout performer of the game and when you look at the box, you'll be able to see four other Sun ladies joining Charles with at least 16 points - Sandrine Gruda and Kara Lawson, both with 17 and Renee Montgomery and Tan White joining Charles with 16 points in the game.

The statistic leaders for Tulsa were Scholanda Robinson, with 19 points and Keisha Brown and Jennifer Lacy, both with 12 points. Brown also had seven assists in the game.

Points to ponder for the Shock are:

[Tulsa was outrebounded 41-25 in the game with 18 Sun 2nd chance points]

Nolan Richardson: "Things that were the worst that I saw our team is offensive and of course defensive rebounding; a lot of second chance points that took place. You know, you can't play a team that can get that many boards. Of course, they've got the best players in the world on their squad with Gruda and Charles. It's very difficult to outmuscle them because they're just a lot bigger and a lot stronger than the players we have, but at the same time we've got to be able to work as a team"

Kara Braxton: "We really have to knuckle down on that. We really have some big girls on the team but we really have to get after it. That's post and guards, whatever. We can't keep letting them get in, we just need to do a better job on boxing out. Yeah, instead of just one or two people. It really needs to be a collective effort."

Scholanda Robinson: "But offensive rebounding has been killing us and it really hurt us tonight. They outrebounded us by 16? That's hard to win like that. Right, that's never good. Never."

[Tulsa committed 15 turnovers, which led to 19 Connecticut points]

Richardson: "Tonight as hard as we played we only turned it over 15 times and I was proud of the guards, especially Kiesha and Lacy not turning it over at all, usually they turn it over."

Robinson: "In the last two games I think we had less turnovers and forced more which is something we had been struggling with, turning the ball over way too much." throws...
[Shock was 14-of-23/60.9% from the line tonight]

Braxton: "I don't know because it seems like we're in the gym all the time shooting them. Maybe we're shooting them too much. No, we've just got to stay focused, that just a focus thing. Mental."

Robinson: "That's just about focus and getting up there and concentrating. Something we're going to have to continue to work on in practice and get batter at." takeaways...
[Shock are 1-9 in June]

Richardson: "I knew coming into this job it was going to be difficult, I just didn't realize how difficult it was going to be, but I'm very proud of the girls because I've seen them grow from the way they played in the beginning to the way they're playing now and first of all I still think they're probably no doubt one of the most entertaining to watch - without winning ballgames, but they're still entertaining to watch."

Robinson: "It's not like we're just getting blown away. We're playing with these type of teams so we're still keeping our focus, we're still staying positive with it because we see progress, it's just not translating into wins right now. Our record does not show what we're really capable of and we'll clean it up. Hopefully July will bring us some better luck."