Kaitlyn Clark and Angel Reyes renew their rivalry as the Indiana Fever defeats the Chicago Sky 91-83



CNN

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

It was another close physical encounter, epitomized by the moment Reese’s swinging arm collided with Clarke’s head as she tried to stop the Fever star from shooting — what officials determined was “unnecessary contact” and a blatant foul 1.

Clark made the resulting two free throws, contributing a game-high 23 points along with eight rebounds and nine assists to lead the Fever to a 91-83 victory.

There wasn’t much to separate the two teams for most of the game and it wasn’t until Clark hit a 30-foot 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining that either team could extend their lead beyond seven points.

Clark, 22, formed a strong partnership with fellow star Aliyah Boston, who finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, her third straight double-double.

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

Emily Chen/Getty Images

Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky drives to the basket against the Indiana Fever.

After the game, Clark was asked what she was thinking after the blunder.

“What’s going through my mind is, ‘I need to make these two free throws,’ that’s all I’m thinking about,” the rookie said. “It’s just part of basketball. It is what it is, you know. It’s trying to make plays on the ball and get the block. But yeah it happens.”

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When asked after the match about the blatant foul, Rees seemed to disagree with the referee’s decision.

“It was a basketball game,” Reese said. “I can’t control the referees, they obviously affected the game a lot tonight.”

Later in the press conference, Rees took another verbal jab at the way the match was called.

“Going back and looking at the film, I see a lot of calls that didn’t get made,” Reese said. “I think some people got a special whistle… We’re not going to get rejected, no matter what you guys try to do.”

The rivalry between Clark and Reese — both in the NBA and college basketball — has sparked discourse about race in the United States, while the Fever star has found herself exploited by controversial figures on social media to push their agendas in America’s culture wars.

Earlier this month, Reese said of the rivalry with Clarke: “People are pulling out to the matches, we’ve got celebrities coming to the matches, and the arenas are sold out, just because… [the 2023 NCAA championship game].

“And just looking at that, I’m going to play that role. I’m going to play the bad guy, and I’m going to continue to do that and be that for my teammates.

“I will look back in 20 years and say, ‘Yes, the reason we watch women’s basketball is not just because of one person.’ It’s because of me, too, and I want you all to realize that,” Reese continued.

Clarke was asked on Sunday why she thought there was so much interest in the match between her and Rees.

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“I think it’s just the emotion and emotion that we play with,” Clark replied. “People like to see that, and I think that’s probably not something that’s always been appreciated in women’s sports. And it should be. I think that’s what makes it fun.”

“We’re competitors, that’s the way the game should be. It’s going to be a little rowdy, it’s going to get physical, but at the end of the day both teams are just trying to win.”

“Think what [Reese] “What she did with her platform was absolutely incredible, and she had an entire fan base that supported her and what she did at Maryland and then LSU,” Clark continued.

“Obviously I played with her for a very long time, and she was a great player. It was really fun to compete against him. I think that was good for the game… People like to watch great matches.”

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert recently told USA Today that the league was “thrilled with the rivalries that are being built.”

“Look, apathy is the death of a brand,” Engelbert said. “No one is indifferent toward the WNBA because we brought a lot of new fans to what we call the Fan Trail this year.”

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

The Indiana Fever next play on Wednesday when they take on the Washington Mystics, while the Chicago Sky look to bounce back against the Dallas Wings on Thursday.

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CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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