Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese are finally teammates: WNBA All-Star Game unites Rookie of the Year rivals

The rivalry between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese is taking the WNBA by storm. But the star rookies will unite as teammates for the 2024 All-Star Game.

The 2024 WNBA All-Star Game will bring together the league’s biggest stars at Footprint Center, home of the Phoenix Mercury, on July 20.

Even in their first year, Clark and Reese have clout to match any of the players on the floor at the All-Star festivities. The duo of basketball marvels are setting the W ablaze, just as they did during their historic college careers.

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Conventional wisdom says players should struggle during their first professional seasons. Unfamiliar with the rocky terrain that surrounds them, newcomers — even the most talented ones — often need time to reach an All-Star level.

That’s not the case for these rookies, who will become the first rookies to share the floor at the All-Star Game since 2014. The Fever guard and Sky forward are locked in a hotly contested Rookie of the Year race.

Clark is averaging 16.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists for Indiana. She became the fastest player to reach 300 career points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists in WNBA history, accomplishing the feat in her 19th game.

Meanwhile, Reese is a rebounding machine for Chicago, swallowing up 11.4 boards a game, the best mark in the league. Already one of the league’s best defenders, Reese is also averaging 13.3 points a night. If she keeps on this pace, she could finish the year with the highest single-season rebounding average in league history.

Since Clark and Reese faced off in the 2023 NCAA title game, the rookies have been pitted against one another as rivals. Yet the pair will be pullign in the same direction during All-Star weekend for Team WNBA, which will face off against the U.S. women’s Olympic 5×5 team.

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Clark and Reese have skillsets that should pair effectively with one another. Clark is a gifted pick-and-roll passer and Reese is a formidable threat racing to the cup.

“One day, hopefully, me and her can be teammates because she is a great player and a great shooter and a great person and a great teammate,” Reese said of Clark in 2023.

That opportunity has arrived. And while Clark and Reese have been cast in adversarial positions, two high-profile rookies coming together in the All-Star Game is a prime opportunity for the WNBA.

Caitlin Clark-Angel Reese relationship, explained

Clark and Reese are two of the most prominent players from the 2024 WNBA Draft class.

One big reason why? Their matchups against one another, which captivated fans — first in the Big Ten, then nationwide.

The story of Clark and Reese doesn’t begin with the 2023 NCAA title game, in which Reese’s LSU bested Clark’s Iowa. They faced off multiple times when Reese played at Maryland in her first two NCAA seasons.

For casual audiences, however, the 2023 NCAA Tournament — namely, its finale — thrust Clark and Reese into a new stratosphere of superstardom.

During that contest, Reese mimicked Clark’s “You can’t see me” hand wave and pointed to her ring finger once the Tigers’ NCAA title was assured.

The gesture took on a life of its own on social media but did little to diminish Clark’s respect for her opponent. After all, she employed the same hand signal earlier in the tournament.

“I don’t think Angel should be criticized at all,” she said in an ESPN interview. “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.

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“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.”

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Reese has shared similar sentiments over the years. Ahead of the Hawkeyes and Tigers’ rematch in the 2024 Elite Eight, Reese pointed out that onlookers tend to misinterpret the players’ competitive spirits as indicative of some sort of feud.

“I don’t think people realize it’s not personal,” Reese said in an interview with ESPN’s Andrea Adelson.

“I think people just take it like we hate each other. Me and Caitlin Clark don’t hate each other. I want everybody to understand that,” Reese continued. “It’s just a super-competitive game.

“Once I get between those lines, there’s no friends. I’m going to talk trash to you. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get in your head the whole entire game, but after the game, we can kick it. I don’t think people really realize that.”

Since Clark and Reese made the leap to the professional level, their popularity has continued to skyrocket. They are also partially responsible for the increased attention around the league, which has hit unprecedented heights this season.

Clark has received the brunt of the credit for that growth. But Reese has played a part as well, something she reiterated days after the two met for the first time as members of the Fever and Sky.

“I know I’ll go down in history, 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. I want y’all to realize that,” Reese said.

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In the aftermath of her All-Star selection, Reese again referenced the chip on her shoulder. The LSU star went No. 7 overall to the Sky, in comparison to Clark, who went No. 1 overall to the Fever.

“Coming into this league, so many people doubted me and didn’t think my game would translate, and I wouldn’t be the player I was in college… But I trusted the process and I believed,” Reese said. “I’m thankful I dropped to No. 7 and was able to come to Chicago. It’s just a blessing.”

Their WNBA matchups have been must-see TV so far, with both Clark and Reese laying down eye-catching stat lines when they’ve dueled with one another. Perhaps it’s a natural flair for the dramatic between the duo.

If that’s the case, then fans will be in for a treat come the All-Star Game on July 20. Given their complementary styles of play, Clark and Reese should have some fun with it, as well.

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