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Fever star Caitlin Clark’s unfazed reaction to hard flagrant foul from Angel Reese

Caitlin Clark has embraced WNBA physicality in her rookie season.

Caitlin Clark shooting on one side in a fever jersey and Angel Reese in a Chicago Sky jersey with her arms up going for a block

INDIANAPOLIS — Perhaps it’s not surprising that in the second rendition of the Indiana Fever-Chicago Sky showdown, players couldn’t get through another third quarter without committing another Flagrant I foul. On Sunday, Angel Reese hacked Caitlin Clark to the ground.

“It’s just a part of basketball,” Clark said afterward. “It is what it is. She was just trying to make a play on the ball and get the block. But yeah, I mean, it happens.”

Foul by Angel Reese on Caitlin Clark upgraded to Flagrant 1 after review:

Reese’s foul was upgraded to flagrant status after an official review. Clark didn’t really retaliate at all Sunday and went to take her free throws. After the Fever’s 91-83 victory, Clark didn’t take offense to the hard foul on her layup. She understood that both players are competitive.

“It’s just the emotion and passion that we play with,” Clark said about the attention brought to the matchup. “Like people love to see that. I think that’s maybe not something that was always appreciated in women’s sports and it should be… we’re competitors… it’s going to get physical.”

Chennedy Carter’s flagrant-foul on Caitlin Clark two weeks ago

Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) attempts to get up as Chicago Sky center Camilla Cardoso (10) runs around her© Jacob Musselman/ For IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Fever beat the Sky 71-70 on June 1 inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse, and in the third quarter, the Sky’s Chennedy Carter hip-checked Clark on an inbounds play. An away-from-ball foul was called and it stood after an official review. Chennedy Carter refused to answer Clark questions postgame. In the coming days, the league went back and upgraded the common foul to flagrant status.

Fever head coach Christie Sides wanted that dirty hit to be upgraded in real-time though. Clark also said the flagrant wasn’t basketball-like, but embraced the physicality at this level.

Another big part of that play was, it didn’t look like Clark’s teammates rushed to her help after the hard foul. Sides later chalked it up to players not looking at the routine inbounds play that eventually blew up in proportions. On Sunday though, Clark got tangled with Sky guard Dana Evans in the first quarter. They both seemed to say something to each other right after.

But it was quickly separated, and Fever guard Kristy Wallace stood in the way of Evans.

“I was really proud of how they all kept their composure,” Sides said. (About the line drawn between teammates standing up for Clark without getting technicals). “The right call was made in that moment. Just make the right call in those moments and we can move forward… but when we don’t make the right calls in those moments… that’s when there’s a problem.”

This Fever-Sky rivalry isn’t new

Sides was asked pregame whether this matchup is an Eastern Conference rivalry in the making. The head coach spent her first six years as an assistant with the Sky and said Sunday that the rivalry has developed for awhile. Plus, the Sky were trying to snap their three-game skid.

Compared to the game weeks ago, Sunday’s contest did have some firework moments, but nothing was out of the ordinary despite Reese’s hard foul. Clark was even asked before the Fever’s game at the Washington Mystics whether Carter owed Clark an apology. But Clark said no, she doesn’t hold grudges, basketball is competitive and it’s also not always going to be nice.

Clark doubled down on that Sunday, not appearing to hold a grudge for Reese.