In Sky’s Victory, Angel Reese Outduels Caitlin Clark with 25 and 16

Angel Reese defeated Caitlin Clark to win for the first time in their professional careers.

In spite of 17 points and a franchise-high 13 assists from Clark, Reese delivered one of his greatest games to date, leading the Chicago Sky to an exhilarating 88-87 comeback victory over the Indiana Fever on Sunday. Reese scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down 16 rebounds.

Reese extended her WNBA rookie record by recording a double-double for the eighth straight game, helping Chicago overcome a 15-point deficit in the second half to win her first-ever game against the Fever and Clark as a professional. This season, the Fever had triumphed in their prior two meetings, both held in Indianapolis.

“I come out and perform,” Reese declared following the match. “I do what it takes to win every single day.”

Reese led Chicago to a 31–15 run in the last 11:25 of the game, scoring as many points (15) and making as many field goals (5) as Indiana did in that time.

With three minutes left, Reese pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled while making the putback to tie the score at 82. With 53 seconds left, the Sky found Reese once more for a driving layup that put Chicago ahead for good.

Regarding Reese, Clark remarked, “She ran really well in transition.” “She got a couple and-1s in transition, obviously, she played a really great game. I think they definitely knew to be physical with us. I think they probably watched [our last game] and saw that we fouled them nonstop … 35 [free throws] … a team like this you are not going to get away with that.”

In the meantime, Clark tied the record for the most assists by a rookie in a double-double performance in the history of the league, although she only took three shots in the fourth quarter and failed to score after 7:12.

“I’m sure there was an opportunity or two for me to probably attempt another shot there at the end, but I trust my teammates,” Clark stated. “Obviously, 13 assists, that means my teammates scored off of 13 of my passes. It’s a really great number, so I’m going to give them the ball every time and give them an opportunity to score.”

Due to their shared college experience, Reese and Clark—two of the best rookies in this year’s WNBA class—have become entwined. In the 2023 national championship game, Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes were defeated by Reese and LSU; however, they exacted revenge in the 2024 national semifinals before falling to South Carolina in the final.

Before Sunday’s much-anticipated game, both Clark and Reese played down the antagonism between their respective clubs. Nevertheless, the match lived up to the hype as one of the most popular tickets in WNBA history.

The average cost of tickets for Sunday’s game at Wintrust Arena was $351, per Vivid Seats. A number of celebrities were present, including rappers Chance the Rapper and Lil Durk from the Chicago area, comedian and actor Jason Sudeikis, Knicks player Jalen Brunson, and Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes, who gave Reese a long hug following the game and said, “She told me she’s proud of me.”

Regarding the crowd, Reese stated, “It’s good for the game, good for women’s basketball, but also good for women’s sports.” NBA players, rappers, and legendary players who were part of the league for an extended period of time are seen showing support. You’re aware that everyone is currently watching.

“I think this is one of the most important times right now, and we just continue to keep putting on. I think both teams tonight did an amazing job putting on a show. It was fun. I had a great time, I’m sure the other team had a great time. I’m just happy we won tonight.”

Guard Kelsey Mitchell of the Fever, who joined the league in 2018, said that the atmosphere created a unique moment in women’s basketball history even if the team lost.

The United Center was scheduled to host concerts on Friday, Saturday (Justin Timberlake), and Sunday (Russ), therefore Sunday’s game could not be held there, despite the fact that numerous Fever games this season have been shifted to larger venues due to great demand for tickets to see Clark.

Nevertheless, all 9,872 seats at Wintrust Arena were booked.

Mitchell remarked, “Today was a really good moment to be a part of,”  “The atmosphere, you guys, the media, the fans, your family, the young kids, I think this was a good atmosphere for us. I think that the women’s basketball game as a whole took a big jump today.”

The Fever’s winning run of four games was likewise ended by the Sky.

Chicago ended a four-game losing slide with back-to-back victories.

“That losing streak definitely spoke a lot for us, hard times in the locker room, hard conversations in the locker room,” Reese stated. “But being able to take that, everybody looked in the mirror and figured out what to do to get better. It doesn’t stop here, two-game win streak, we gotta keep going.”

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