SECAUCUS, N.J. - It's been an unforgettable 48 hours for Tina Charles.
Less than two days after helping UConn win its second straight national championship, she was selected first by the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA draft yesterday.
"It's unbelievable, my heart is still pounding out of my chest," Charles said. "I'm more interested what impact I'll have on the team more than just being the No. 1 pick."
Charles, who went to Christ the King High School in Queens, averaged more than 18 points and nine rebounds while leading UConn to an NCAA Division I-record 78 straight victories over the past two seasons.
The Sun traded with the Minnesota Lynx to get Charles, who joins Sue Bird (2002) and Diana Taurasi (2004) as the only UConn players taken with the top overall pick. The three former Huskies as well as Candace Parker (2007) are the only four players to win a national championship and be taken first in the draft the same year.
The Sun also acquired Charles' former teammate, Renee Montgomery, from the Lynx for Monica Wright, the second pick in the draft, and former University of Minnesota star Lindsay Whalen.
The Liberty, which had the original rights to the top choice before trading it last year, took Charles' teammate, Kalana Greene, in the second round. The Lynx drafted Nebraska's Kelsey Griffin with the third pick, then dealt her to the Sun minutes later for Connecticut's first- and second-round picks next year. "I was very excited about Minnesota, but Connecticut has a great fan base," Griffin said. "I have talked to the Connecticut coaches and I'm excited to play with Tina Charles. She's such a great player."
Chicago drafted former Rutgers guard Epiphanny Prince with the fourth pick.