We May Be Watching the Start of a Great Sports Rivalry

Angel Reese called with flagrant foul on Caitlin Clark, and both WNBA stars shrug it off
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2024 6:55 AM CDT
Caitlin Clark Shrugs Off Flagrant Foul by Main Rival
Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Another matchup between Caitlin Clark's team and Angel Reese's team has sports pundits in a froth, but the two WNBA stars themselves are shrugging things off.

  • Flagrant foul: Reese of the Chicago Sky got hit with a flagrant foul on Sunday after she struck Clark in the head while the Indiana Fever star was driving for a layup, reports CBS Sports. Watch the play here.
  • The context: The last time these teams met, Clark was knocked to the ground by a flagrant foul from a different Sky player, setting off a debate on whether Clark was getting deliberately roughed up by other teams—or was merely being treated the way any high-profile rookie might be.

  • Clark: No big deal, Clark told reporters after the game, which her team won, 91-83. "What was going through my mind is I gotta make these two free throws," she said. "That's all I'm thinking about. It's just part of basketball. It is what it is. She was trying to make a play on the ball and get the block. It happens."
  • Reese: "It was a basketball play," she said. "I'm always going for the ball. Y'all are going to play that clip 20 times before Monday."
  • Reaction: Awful Announcing rounds up the wide-ranging reaction in sports media, including one post from Jim Trotter of the Athletic seeking to put things in context: "Once again, anything involving Caitlin gets overanalyzed and taken to the next level," he tweeted. "Both things can be true here. Reese was attempting to make a basketball play, and the contact to the head was deserving of flagrant 1 status." (If it were a more serious flagrant 2, Reese would have been ejected.)
  • The good part: What's happening between the Fever and the Sky has the making of a great new sports rivalry, writes Nicole Auerbach in the New York Times. "This is about a treasure trove of elite young talent, who play in cities located just three hours apart." Fans' energy is the tell, and Sunday's game had plenty of it. Such rivalries are "marked by good, old-fashioned hate; you root against your rival just as fervently as you root for your favorite team. And the Sky versus the Fever is giving us exactly that."
(More Caitlin Clark stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.