Rivals Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese to team up as All-Stars

Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to credit the rivalry between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese as one of the reasons why fandom in women’s college basketball and the WNBA has exploded over the past few years.

The 2023 national championship game was where it all started, with Reese pointing to her ring finger and taunting Clark as her LSU Tigers beat the Iowa Hawkeyes in Dallas, Texas, with a then-record 12.3 million people tuning in, making it the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever.

A year later at the Elite Eight in Albany, New York, the Hawkeyes got revenge, punching their ticket to the 2024 Final Four at LSU’s expense with a record-setting 16.1 million people watching.

Clark was drafted No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever, while Reese went seventh to the Chicago Sky. When the two faced off on June 23, it drew 2.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched WNBA game in 23 years.

And now, Clark and Reese are going to be on the same team.

Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese are the only two rookies on the WNBA All-Star squad

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Credit: Michael Chow / USA TODAY NETWORK

The star rookies headline the 12-player WNBA All-Star squad that will take on Team USA in a pre-Olympics tune-up on July 20 in Phoenix, Arizona. Clark led the fan voting – which is 50 percent of the all-star selection – with more than 700,000 ballots cast in her name, while Reese was fifth with 381,518 votes.

They are the only two rookies on the team, and it’s the first time since 2014 that two rookies were voted to the all-star squad.

I don’t think I’ve ever been her teammate before, even at USA Basketball. I know people will be really excited about it, but I hope it doesn’t take away from everyone else,” Clark said. “This is a huge accomplishment for everybody on Team USA and everyone on Team WNBA. They all deserve the same praise.”

Clark was Rookie of the Month in May and Reese took home the honors in June. Both have done their fair share of impressive record-setting this season. Clark became the fastest player in WNBA history to pile up at least 300 points, 100 rebounds, and 100 assists, while Reese is now the owner of the mark for consecutive games played with a double-double, breaking a record set by Candace Parker.

“I’m just so happy. I know the work I put in,” Reese said of making the All-Star team. “Coming into this league, so many people doubted me and didn’t think my game would translate and I wouldn’t be the player that I was in college or better or would be worse and wouldn’t be where I am right now.”

The WNBA All-Star team also features the likes of DeWanna Bonner, Arike Ogunbowale, former MVP Jonquel Jones, and a member of Team USA’s 3×3 team in Dearica Hamby.

Team USA versus the All-Stars will be must-watch basketball for many reasons, but chief among them is seeing Clark and Reese coexist as teammates for the first time. They’ll face each other as opponents again on Aug. 30.

Clark and Reese have drawn comparisons to a pair of young stars who took the NBA by storm in the early 1980s: Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Johnson, who owns the Los Angeles Sparks, has admired what they’ve done.

“Those two, especially Caitlin, are definitely a direct result for what’s going on,” Johnson said. “The ratings don’t lie, the numbers don’t lie.”

Related: WNBA playoff predictions: Bracket picks & 2024 Finals champion

Four WNBA players on Team Canada

Team USA won’t be the only squad carrying WNBA players at the Summer Olympics in Paris, France. Earlier this week, Laeticia Amihere of the Atlanta Dream, Bridget Carleton of the Minnesota Lynx, Aaliyah Edwards of the Washington Mystics, and Kia Nurse of the Los Angeles Sparks were named to the Canadian national team for women’s basketball. Gonzaga forward Yvonne Ejim and Notre Dame’s Cassandre Prosper also made the team.

WNBA Transactions

Jakia Brown-Turner was waived by the Washington Mystics this week, while the Phoenix Mercury let go of Liz Dixon and the Seattle Storm cut Kiana Williams.

Beginning Thursday, teams can start signing players to short-term seven-day hardship contracts. According to the Washington Post, the Mystics plan to bring Brown-Turner – a rookie out of Maryland – back with one of those contracts.

History for Natasha Howard

WNBA: Preseason-Indiana Fever at Dallas Wings
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Wings have now lost three straight games, are 1-9 in their last 10, and find themselves at the bottom of the WNBA standings at the halfway point of the season.

However, there was a bright spot Wednesday night for Natasha Howard, as the 32-year-old scored a career-high 36 points. She became the second-oldest player in WNBA history to have at least 35 points and 10 rebounds in a single game, bested only by Lisa Leslie doing so at the age of 34.

–Mitchell Northam covers the WNBA for Field Level Media

Related: 20 highest-paid WNBA players in 2024

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