Saturday, June 22, 2024

Sky’s Angel Reese off to historic start in WNBA as matchup against college foe Caitlin Clark, Fever approaches

A month into the WNBA season, Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese has already been able to translate the skills that made her a star in college to the pros. Reese was a double-double machine at LSU and is doing the same for the Sky. 

This past week was a particularly good one for Reese, the No. 1 player in CBS Sports’ latest Rookie Rankings, as she became the first WNBA player this season to register consecutive double-doubles with five-plus steals. She now has four double-doubles and multiple other games in which she got close.

That is no small feat for a rookie, but it is not too surprising based on what Reese did with Kim Mulkey and the Tigers. While she was in college, Sylvia Fowles nicknamed her “Ms. Double-Double Queen,” which is high praise coming from the fellow LSU alum who registered a record 193 double-doubles during her WNBA career.

In her first 10 games in the WNBA, Reese has scored in double figures eight times despite some struggles finishing around the basket. She is currently averaging 11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and a team-high 1.9 steals per contest. 

Atlanta Dream center Tina Charles — who has the second most double-doubles in WNBA history (173) behind Fowles — gave the rookie some advice after the Dream’s 89-80 win over the Sky. 

“She told me, ‘You are doing a great job out there.’ She respects me,” Reese said. “After the game she was telling me to take my time when finishing around the basket. She shows love to me, she respects me.”

Despite it being a loss, that game featured one of the most complete stat sheets for Reese as she registered 13 points on 50% shooting, 13 rebonds, two assists and five steals.

Reese helped LSU win its first ever NCAA college basketball title in 2023 by playing the same well-rounded game she is showing early on in her WNBA career. That season, Reese averaged 23 points and 15.4 rebounds per game while setting an NCAA single-season record of 34 double-doubles. 

LSU won that first title by defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes, which in the eyes of fans sparked a rivalry between Reese and Caitlin Clark — who is now with the Indiana Fever. The Hawkeyes got their revenge during the 2024 Elite Eight, but they did not win the trophy because of another current Sky rookie, Kamilla Cardoso.

The 6-foot-7 center earned her second ring with South Carolina with a career-high 17 rebounds against Iowa. She was the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft behind Clark and Reese, but she missed the beginning of the season because of an injury. 

“Our duo is something that’s going to be here for a while and here to stay,” Reese said of her and Cardoso. “I’m excited for our growth and I’m just happy for us.”

Cardoso’s rookie debut was against Clark and the Fever on June 1. Indiana won that first meeting 71-70, but the Sky will be looking for a different result when they face each other again Sunday at noon ET on CBS.

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