Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Epiphanny Prince dishes on Tina Charles

Long-time friends and frequent basketball rivals Epiphanny Prince and Tina Charles
will be teammates on the Eastern Conference All-Star team this afternoon.
Many of the parade of stars who will be taking part in today's WNBA All-Star game have shared the court with reigning WNBA MVP Tina Charles in the past.

Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx teamed with Charles to lead UConn to back to back national championships; Allison Hightower has been a teammate of hers with the Connecticut Sun since both were drafted by the team in 2010 while All-Stars Seimone Augustus, Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles, Angel McCoughtry, Moore, Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen were teammates of Charles on the gold-medal 2012 Olympic squad. However, there is nobody who will take the court who knows Charles as well as fellow Eastern Conference starter Epiphanny Prince.

The two grew up playing on the same courts before becoming rivals in AAU, high school and college.

Prince let me in on a little secret as she "she wasn't good" when the two first crossed paths on a basketball court nearly a decade and a half ago.

"We have come a long way for both of us to be able to make it especially for both of us coming from New York so I think it is really special," Prince said after Friday's Eastern Conference practice at Mohegan Sun Arena..

So what impresses Prince the most about the way that Charles has emerged into one of the world's best players?

"Just her work ethic because she wasn't always the most talented and she has worked hard, now she is one of the top centers in the league so I think her work ethic definitely got her there," Prince said.

Prince has vivid recollections of those early days when Prince was 12 and Charles 11.

"I was playing with Exodus and she was playing with the Gazelles and we were always playing against each other," Prince said. "She wasn't good. I think she just started playing  and we always talk about that and she says 'do you remember when I couldn't even make a layup?' Now look at her now."

While Prince wasn't sure what kind of player Charles would turn out to be, she knew pretty much from the first day that they met that Charles would go out of her way to help others which is exactly what Charles has been doing since she received her first paycheck. Whether it is funding a school in Africa or donating money to be defibrillators, Charles' generosity seemingly has no bounds.

"She has always been a loving, caring and giving person so  for me I am not that surprised by that at all," Prince said.

I also thought I would pass on a story about UConn Class of 2014 recruiting target A'ja Wilson who ranks third in rebounding and blocked shots heading into the final two days of the FIBA U-19 World Champiosnhip for Women.

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