Top NewsCaitlin Clark and Angel Reese renew rivalry as Indiana Fever defeats Chicago...

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese renew rivalry as Indiana Fever defeats Chicago Sky 91-83



CNN

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese faced each other for the second time in the WNBA, as the Indiana Fever defeated Reese’s Chicago Sky on Sunday.

The moment Reese’s swinging arm caught Clark’s head as he tried to stop the Fever star from shooting — officials determined it was “unnecessary contact” and a flagrant foul.

Clark sank two free throws as he contributed 23 points and eight rebounds and nine assists to lead the Fever to a 91-83 victory.

There was little separating the two teams for much of the game, and neither team was able to extend its lead beyond seven points with just over three minutes remaining until Clark hit a 30-foot three-pointer.

The 22-year-old Clark finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and four assists along with fellow star Aaliyah Boston — her third straight double-double.

Meanwhile, Marina Mabrey led the Sky with 22 points, Camila Cardoso had her first WNBA double-double and Sennedy Carter had 18 points and four assists. Reese finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.

After the game, Clarke was asked what he was thinking after the foul.

“What was going through my mind was: ‘I’ve got to make these two free throws, that’s what I’m thinking,'” the rookie said. “It’s just part of basketball. You know what it is. She plays with the ball and tries to get the block. But yes, it will happen.”

When asked after the game about the flagrant foul, Reese disagreed with the referee’s decision.

“It’s a basketball game,” Reese said. “I couldn’t control the notes, they really affected the game tonight.”

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Later in the press conference, Reese took another verbal jab at the way the game was called.

“Going back and watching the film, I see a lot of calls that weren’t made,” Reese said. “I think some people have got a special whistle … we will not be denied no matter what you try to do.”

Clarke and Reese’s rivalry — in both the WNBA and college basketball — fueled the discourse on race in America, while the Fever star found social media used by controversial figures to push their agendas in the American culture wars.

Earlier this month, Rees said of the match with Clarke: “People are drawn to the games, we have celebrities coming to the games, the stadiums are sold out. [the 2023 NCAA championship game].

“Looking at that, I’ll take on that role. I’ll take on the bad boy role, and I’ll continue to take on that, and be there for my teammates.

Reese continued: “I’ll look back 20 years from now and say, ‘Yeah, one person wasn’t the reason we watched women’s basketball. I’m the reason, and you all have to realize that.'”

Clarke was asked on Sunday why she thinks there is so much attention on the matchup between her and Reese.

“I think it’s just passion and passion that we play with,” Clarke replied. “People want to see that, and I think that’s something that’s not always appreciated in women’s sports.” And it should be. I think that’s what makes it fun.

“We’re rivals and that’s what the game should be about. It’s going to be a little hectic, it’s going to get physical, but at the end of the day both teams are trying to win.

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“Guess what [Reese] “What he’s done on stage has been absolutely incredible, and having a whole fan base behind him and what he’s done at Maryland and LSU,” Clark continued.

“Obviously I’ve played with her for a long time and she’s an amazing player. It’s great to compete against. I think it’s good for the game … people want to see great matchups.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert recently told USA Today that the league was “thrilled with the rivalry that’s being built.”

“Look, apathy is the death of a brand,” Engelbert said. “No one is indifferent to the WNBA because we’ve brought in a lot of new fans this year in what we call the fan funnel.”

After losing five straight games to start the season, the Fever are 5-5 and have won four of their last six games. The Sky, meanwhile, are on a four game losing streak and have now lost six of their last seven games.

The Indiana Fever next face the Washington Mystics on Wednesday, while the Chicago Sky return to action on Thursday against the Dallas Wings.

CNN’s Kevin Dodson contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional updates.

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