Connect with us


Pick a side in the Caitlin Clark-Angel Reese rivalry, but don’t look away



Sometimes there are evolutionary leaps in sports, and you’re watching one right now with Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese. Or Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark, whichever order you prefer, or maybe just call them “Crease” or “Caingel,” a nickname appropriate for a super couple, which is what they’re becoming. Look at the arc of their performances — especially against each other — and it’s evident that the WNBA has entered a protean new state. It’s growing wings.

As Clark said, “You can just feel it pulling up in the bus.”

All the tropes and taunts around Reese and Clark tend to obscure the fact that they share a couple of essential qualities: pure basketball magnetism and joint ambition. They differ merely in style. Clark is kestrel-like, all equipoise and sudden predatory darting, while Reese is the more voluble, physical, claw hammer of a player.

I’m a dog. You can’t teach that,” Reese said Sunday after she led the Chicago Sky’s 88-87 victory over Clark’s Indiana Fever.

They both are. And she’s right: You can’t teach it. It’s born from living up to pressure.

Large viewerships have flirted with women’s sports before, only to switch them off between Olympics or World Cups. The question for the WNBA always has been, could it attract viewers to a routine midseason game between a couple of middling teams on a work night in the Midwest? Well, it has happened. There you were on a waning summer Sunday, casually scrolling the clicker and thinking you would check the score between the Sky and the Fever, when Reese and Clark made you sit bolt upright and spit out your lemonade.

That was a hell of a one-point finish Sunday, and though it didn’t mean very much, somehow it felt as if it did.

“I think that the women’s basketball game as a whole took a big jump today,” the Fever’s Kelsey Mitchell said afterward.

By the time Reese and Clark finished swapping career highs — Reese with her skyjacking 25 points and 16 rebounds and Clark with her sleights of hand for a franchise-record 13 assists to go with 17 points — here was the takeaway: They had made the midseason mesmerizing, and that was new and significant for the WNBA.

Mind you, the Fever is just 7-11, and the Sky is 6-9. Which is precisely the point. Despite those middling records, their meetings are drawing more than 2 million television viewers. Sunday’s game in Chicago was the most expensive ticket on record for the WNBA, with an average price of $358. In the stands were Lil Durk, Chance the Rapper, Jason Sudeikis, and Jalen Brunson, while Ja Morant was calling it straight fire on X.

People are talking about women’s basketball who you’d never think would be talking about women’s basketball,” Reese pointed out recently.

What’s drawing such numbers? More than merely the personal rivalry. Viewers are smart enough to know the catfighting heroine-villainess narrative is false, and so is the race-baiting one; both players are equally good teammates, mighty talents and teasing trash-talkers. What’s really gripping the audience is the fact that these women somehow keep meeting the moment.

Time after time, they just keep playing bigger despite the weight of public expectations — some of which are imposed by the performances of the other. They’ve been vying for preeminence since the 2023 NCAA championship game, when Reese wagged a ring finger at Clark after LSU’s victory over Iowa. Think about it. When is the last time either Clark or Reese failed to show out when she knew eyes were on her?

Every head in the arena swivels back and forth between them — because everyone knows that they are liable to do something explosive when it matters most, even when they’re at the very periphery of the play.

“I think it’s the lack of fear of failure that people are attracted to,” Clark’s former coach at Iowa, Lisa Bluder, said recently.

That’s it exactly. The fearlessness is what’s so compelling. It suggests that under the physicality is something even more substantial: emotional strength.
That’s it exactly. The fearlessness is what’s so compelling. It suggests that under the physicality is something even more substantial: emotional strength.

It startles to think how young they are: Clark has played just 18 professional games, Reese just 15.

“Reality is coming,” Diana Taurasi notoriously predicted in the preseason, suggesting that Clark would have some struggles as a rookie — and by extension Reese, too. “There’s levels to this thing, and that’s just life. … You look superhuman playing against 18-year-olds, but you’re going to come with some grown women that have been playing professional basketball for a long time.”

You better add a level. Not even halfway through the 40-game season, Reese and Clark aren’t just rookie of the year favorites; they’re already indisputably league leaders. Clark ranks third in the WNBA in three-pointers made and third in total assists. Reese is second in total rebounds and has logged eight consecutive double-doubles. Both rank in the top 15 of the league’s 144 players in efficiency, Reese 11th and Clark 15th. That’s despite the fact that they’re barely unwrapped and out of the box as pros and that they’re playing on two of the more inexperienced teams in the league.

They’re getting better nightly — and it’s the rest of the league that is figuring out how to grow to meet their vast, expanding aspirations. The pity is that they won’t play each other again until August. By then, a potential playoff spot may well be on the line. In the meantime, they may just succeed at their mutual enterprise and lock a once-fickle WNBA audience into a forever embrace.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CELEBRITY23 hours ago

Taylor’s Dad Scott Kingsley Swift responds to Jana Kramer’s claims She’s a bad influence because She’s ‘always drinking’… and NFL is NOT impressed

CELEBRITY23 hours ago

Travis Kelce reveals astronomical price tag for Super Bowl suite that included Taylor Swift

CELEBRITY24 hours ago

BREAKING NEWS: Fox News has just reported that NFL star Travis Kelce has proposed to global pop icon Taylor Swift few minutes ago in Amsterdam as she wrapped up her highly successful Eras Tour. The report revealed that Kelce planned the proposal with the help of Swift’s parents, ensuring the moment was a complete surprise for her.

CELEBRITY24 hours ago

The Entire Internet Was WRONG About The Massive Ring Travis Kelce Supposedly Bought Taylor Swift, As Shocking New Info Emerges (PICS).

CELEBRITY24 hours ago

Travis Kelce Reveals Fear of Marriage: ‘It Could Hurt My Career and Stop Girls from Flocking Around Me!’

CELEBRITY1 day ago

Taylor Swift’s ex Joe Alwyn denies ever visiting the London pub namechecked by the singer in her latest album

CELEBRITY1 day ago

Taylor Swift thanks Amsterdam for ‘3 magical nights’ of Eras Tour after performing Mary’s Song for the first time in 16 years for boyfriend Travis Kelce

CELEBRITY1 day ago

Taylor Swift’s special collaboration with childhood inspiration: Jennifer Lopez and the hidden truth!

CELEBRITY1 day ago

Taylor Swift RESPONDS gracefully to Kayla Nicole’s challenge, embracing the moment with confidence as she shows off her multi-million dollar engagement ring from ex-boyfriend Travis Kelce in Kansas City. In Taylor Swift’s Comment, She Said ‘Swift would not be shamed or intimidated and I can’t hide my face from my beloved boyfriend Travis Kelce…

CELEBRITY1 day ago

Breaking News: NFL Criticizes Taylor Swift for Purchasing a Mansion worth $472M that made her Set a New Record After Gisele Bündchen – NFL Fans said that Taylor Swift is…Read More

CELEBRITY1 day ago

Travis Kelce Says ‘Taylor, This Is for You’ as He Takes Home Karaoke Award After Belting Out Whitesnake

CELEBRITY1 day ago

PHOTO: Taylor Swift Seemingly Provides ANSWER To Travis Kelce Breakup RUMORS With Interesting Social Media Activity

Copyright © 2024 Ventzy24