Angel Reese Is Closing Hard On Caitlin Clark In WNBA Rookie of the Year Race: The Corporate Darling vs. The People’s Choice

Now that Angel Reese has played herself into Rookie of the Year contention with her archrival Caitlin Clark, the turn of events that included Reese’s breakout WNBA performance last Sunday, in which the rookie forward willed the Chicago Sky past the Indiana Fever 88-87 with 25 points and 16 rebounds (10 points and five boards in the fourth quarter) has added more intrigue and fan interest to the season.

In the three times that Reese’s Sky and Clark’s Fever have met this season, the women have elevated the league to new ratings records. 

Now, with the two most popular players in the entire WNBA vying for ROY honors, expect more social media battles, discussions and closer attention being paid to each player’s performances over these last 15-18 games. 

Like, who pays attention to the WNBA ROY Award? In the past, very few people unless a 1-of-1 talent such as Candace Parker emerged. 

Clark, the league’s first-overall pick after her record-shattering career at Iowa, was the early favorite and big corporations decided to put all of their chips in her basket. The thought was she would run away with the Rookie of the Year award because of a combination of her sterling play on the court as the only WNBA rookie to average 15/5/5, and her influential appeal. 

Angel Reese Closing The Gap On CC In WNBA Rookie of the Year Race

Reese was considered to many to be more talk than action. However, many of those fringe fans are Clark supporters and don’t want anyone messing up the fairytale season they envision for Clark, whose team is 7-11 and in ninth place out of the 12 WNBA teams. 

Reese, whose nine straight double-doubles is a WNBA rookie record, isn’t carrying a team that’s any better than Clark’s. The Sky is 6-9 and in ninth place overall in the league. 

The fact that these teams are so bad also raises the spotlight for Clark and Reese, who are probably going to be All-stars. 

As far as their impact on the court matching their celebrity, both women are winning in that regard. Reese was overlooked in the draft, dropping to seventh overall, and Clark’s stock was at its highest after being drafted and awarded a $28 million Nike deal and signature shoe. 

Reese, who is just as popular across the board as Clark and without the heavy corporate hype, is definitely positioning herself  as well, considering her 3.4 million Instagram followers, which is far and away the most in the WNBA, that might be a show that people actually buy.  

The fact that Reese finally bested Clark for the first time this season after two losses definitely raised Bayou Barbie’s stock. It also seems to elevate her popularity to another level as she was seen cruising around Chicago in a Tesla Cybertruck with Chicago rapper G Herbo. Just weeks ago she was twerking it up onstage with Megan Thee Stallion at a concert. 

Two Different Lifestyles, One Objective: Ball Out

Clark and Reese go about their business very differently off the court, but on the court they are both rugged competitors who carry a tremendous burden of driving the league, bringing the most familiar face to new fans, and turning losing teams into winners while dealing with the pressures and challenges of being a rookie. 

Reese was having trouble finishing around the basket early in the season, but she’s now been shooting at least at 50 percent in four of six games.

Clark averaged a solid 16.3 points per game while also designing the ball with potency She had a game-high 13 assists against the Sky, which were the most in Fever history. Clark is averaging 6.6 assists per game, good for fourth-best in the WNBA.

Caitlin Clark Still Heavy Favorite In Vegas To Win Rookie of The Year

Known for her range, Clark’s shooting percentages, which were both in the 30s, have improved a bit and her 51 3-pointers made so far are just one less than Sabrina Ionescu and Kayla McBride for the league lead.

Although Vegas still has Clark as the leader and a heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year (They have Clark at around -600, on average, with Angel Reese around +450), Reese is closing the gap, although most ultimately feel that Clark’s corporate love and her ability to attract the fringe fan will ultimately prevail.

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