Advertisement

Caitlin Clark is Tired of the Angel Reese ‘Rivalry’ Discourse—and WNBA Fans Are Loving Her New Statement

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Much has been made of the dynamic between WNBA star rookies Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, and the 22-year-old Indiana Fever player seems to be over it.

With the Fever and the Chicago Sky about to play their third matchup of the season on June 23, Clark was asked about her feelings on the so-called “rivalry” as she prepares to face off against Reese on the court once again.

“I'm pretty sure the only people that view this as a rivalry is all of you,” she bluntly told a reporter during a post-game press conference on June 21. “Like, to us it’s just a game of basketball.”

While she conceded that it’s “amazing” that interest in both teams helps “move the game forward,” she also questioned why the matchup hasn’t been moved to a larger arena like some other Fever games this season. “I thought that would have been really good for the game and really good for all the women’s basketball fans in Chicago,” she said. “Maybe there’s a conflict of some sort that I don’t know about. Obviously, that’s a little bit above my pay grade.”

Still, Clark says the “two prior matchups have really lived up to what everybody expected” and were “really great basketball.”

Clark’s coach Christie Sides and teammate NaLyssa Smith both looked shocked and amused by her response—and they weren’t the only ones who enjoyed her statements. “Caitlin Clark wore her sassy pants to the post-game interview last night,” TikTok basketball commentator @youforgotaboutdre joked in one video post with more than 44,000 likes. In the comments, many praised Clark’s “epic” words, while others delighting in Coach Side’s “priceless” expressions.

“It is a great response,” one user replied. “The public makes the rivalry. They are both great players.”

The young basketball players first sparked nation-wide interest in 2023, when their trash talk went viral during an NCAA championship game between Reese’s LSU Tigers and Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes.

After LSU defeated Iowa, Clark defended Reese against hateful—and often racist—online attacks. “I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all,” she told ESPN. “No matter which way it goes, she should never be criticized for what she did. I’m just one that competes, and she competed. I think everybody knew there was going to be a little trash talk. It’s not just me and Angel.”

She continued, “That should never be torn down. That should never be criticized because I believe that’s what makes this game so fun. That’s what draws people to this game. That’s how I’m going to continue to play. That’s how every girl should continue to play.”

The next year Clark went on to become the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader—male or female—and the duo’s rematch in the 2024 Final Four drew 12.3 million viewers, briefly becoming the ESPN’s most-watched women’s college basketball game ever.

While that accolade now belongs to the 2024 championship game between Iowa and South Carolina, viewers’ obsession with Reese and Clark has followed them into their first season of the WNBA—for better or worse. Since joining the league, Clark’s Indiana Fever have defeated Reese’s Chicago Sky in two face-offs, with both games sparking heated discourse, largely at the expense of Reese and her teammates.

Sports

Chicago Sky players say Carter was targeted outside their hotel.

“People are pulling up to games, we got celebrities coming to games, sold-out arenas, just because of [the 2023 NCAA championship game],” Reese said of the fanfare in early June, per CNN. “And just looking at that, I’ll take that role. I’ll take the bad-guy role, and I’ll continue to take that on and be that for my teammates.”

She continued, “I’ll look back in 20 years and be like, ‘Yeah, the reason why we’re watching women’s basketball is not just because of one person. It’s because of me too,’ and I want y’all to realize that.”

College Women of the Year

In conversation with Hall of Fame legend Lisa Leslie, LSU basketball phenom Angel Reese discusses embracing her authentic self, navigating the world of beauty, managing her social media presence, and her remarkable journey toward winning a national championship.


Originally Appeared on Glamour