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Angel Reese's Team Takes a Shot at Caitlin Clark After Historic Performance - 'THE Front Runner'

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Statistics aside, much of the rivalry-related dynamic surrounding WNBA rookies Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever and Angel Reese of the Chicago Sky comes down to humility vs. envy.

For instance, following Clark’s historic performance in the Fever’s 83-78 win over the first-place New York Liberty on Saturday, the Sky’s official team account on the social media platform X took a veiled swipe at Clark by posting an image of Reese accompanied by a comment that undoubtedly referred to the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year Award, widely perceived as a two-person race between Clark and Reese.

“Record setter. THE front runner,” the Sky tweeted.

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Of course, whoever controls a team’s social media accounts has every right to trumpet accomplishments by that team’s players.

What made this post different, however, was that it came in response to Clark’s performance, not Reese’s.

In an 88-84 win over the Seattle Storm on Friday, Reese recorded her 12th consecutive double-double. (For basketball novices, that means double digits in two statistical categories, in this case points and rebounds.)

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Then, in an 84-71 loss to the Storm in a Sunday rematch, Reese extended that streak to a WNBA record 13 straight double-doubles.

But the Sky’s post came not on Friday or Sunday. It came on Saturday, when Clark played.

In that win over the Liberty, the superstar Indiana guard finished with 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. She thus became the first rookie in WNBA history to record a triple-double.

On pure basketball grounds, of course, both record-setting women have made a strong case for Rookie of the Year.

For one thing, both rookies have excelled on losing teams. In fact, both the Fever (9-13) and the Sky (8-12) currently sit four games under .500.

Likewise, their statistical profiles, while varying in particulars, each look impressive. On a per game basis, Clark has averaged 29.5 combined points, assists and rebounds compared to Reese’s 27.9. Clark has also made more splashy defensive plays, as evidenced by her 2.2 combined steals and blocks compared to Reese’s 1.9. On the other hand, Clark also leads the league by a wide margin with 5.5 turnovers per game.

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Last month, two CBS women’s sports analysts gave Reese a very slight edge as Rookie of the Year. The statistics, however — to say nothing of her broader impact on the league — suggest that perhaps Clark should have the position at the moment.

In fact, on Saturday the Fever’s X account also proclaimed their player “rookie of the year.”

Either way, the basketball-related debate should continue.

Unfortunately, the Clark-Reese drama often has little to do with basketball.

Widely perceived as rivals during their college playing days, Clark and Reese have maintained that perception as professionals.

At times, however, the rivalry has appeared one-sided. Whereas Clark has carried herself with dignity, deflected credit from herself to her teammates and generally remained above the fray, even in the midst of cheap shots and controversial comments from jealous WNBA veterans, Reese has often appeared petulant while simultaneously posing as both villain and victim.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects in the media have turned the Clark-Reese rivalry into a racial melodrama. In that way Clark, who is white, and Reese, who is black, have become proxies for whatever alleged social ills a virtue-signaling commentator might wish to denounce.

Furthermore, the contrast in attitudes between the petulant Reese and the deferential Clark could not be more striking.

“But, like, obviously 13 assists, like, that means my teammates made 13 shots off my passes. So that [credit] goes to them,” Clark told reporters following Saturday’s win.

In sum, both players have had fantastic rookie seasons. But one has appeared humble and the other envious.

Now, thanks to an adamant, all-caps post (“THE front runner”), poorly timed on the team’s off day, whoever handles the Sky’s social media account has given that same appearance of envy toward Clark.


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Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.
Michael Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in History and has taught at multiple colleges and universities. He has published one book and numerous essays on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Early U.S. Republic. He loves dogs, baseball, and freedom. After meandering spiritually through most of early adulthood, he has rediscovered his faith in midlife and is eager to continue learning about it from the great Christian thinkers.




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